President Biden defends US withdrawal from Afghanistan

President Biden defends US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Washington DC: President Joe Biden vigorously defended the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of conflict, describing it as the best and the right decision for America which ended an era of major military deployments to rebuild other countries.

In his address to the nation from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said there was no reason to continue in a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of the American people.

My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over, Biden said.

I give you my word: With all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America, he said.

Biden's address to the nation came just 11 days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that precipitated the US intervention in Afghanistan.

The last C-17 cargo aircraft carrying US forces took off from the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul in the early hours of Tuesday, ending America's military campaign in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, ousted from power by the US shortly after the 9/11 attacks, now control nearly all of the country.

Biden said the real choice in Afghanistan was "between leaving and escalating."

"I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit," he said.

We succeeded in what we set out to do in Afghanistan over a decade ago. And we stayed for another decade. It was time to end this war, he said.

"This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It's about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries."

Biden also highlighted the evacuation of more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, saying the extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.

Biden has been widely criticised over the abrupt manner of the US withdrawal, which led to the unexpected collapse of the Afghan security forces US troops had trained and funded for years.

We've been a nation too long at war. If you're 20 years old today, you have never known an America at peace," Biden said.

Biden said that he was the fourth President who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war.

When I was running for President, I made a commitment to the American people that I would end this war. And today, I've honoured that commitment. It was time to be honest with the American people again. We no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan,

he said.

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