President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that the United States will withdraw its remaining troops in Afghanistan by September 11, The New York Times reports.
“It is time to end the forever war,” Biden said at the White House, announcing that all US troops will withdraw from the war-torn country by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
There are about 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan. They are set to begin to withdraw on May 1.
The troops may be mostly withdrawn before the September deadline, leaving “only a token guard force for the American Embassy,” the Times reported.
NATO, which has a bigger force in the country, is also expected to withdraw its troops.
More than 2,400 American troops have died in Afghanistan since the war began.
Biden vows not to leave war to fifth president:
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said, noting that some of those serving in the country had parents who served in the same war.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for withdrawal, and expecting a different result,” he said.
“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan,” he added. “Two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”
US objectives failed:
Biden, who has long criticized the war, rejected the idea that US troops were necessary to pursue efforts to rebuild Afghanistan.
“We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective,” he said. “American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.”
“We delivered justice to Bin Laden a decade ago,” he added. “And we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan have become increasingly unclear.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken traveled to the country on Thursday to reassure the Afghan government that the US is not ending its commitment to support the country.
“Bringing our troops home doesn’t mean the end of our relationship with Afghanistan,” he said.