Joe Biden said US troops would begin a final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1, announcing “the end of America’s longest war.”
“I am now the fourth American president to preside over the US military presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not share this responsibility one-fifth,” he said in a White House speech on Wednesday.
US Presidents George W. Bush has vowed to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks to oust Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda Islamist-backed Taliban government.
In two decades of fighting against Afghan and foreign militants, 248 Americans have died and 20,722 have been injured, Biden said, pulling out a card from his suit jacket that he had been with him for 12 years to record war casualties.
The U.S. withdrawal will begin on May 1, at Deadline set As part of an agreement under the Trump administration, Biden said “probably not what I will discuss myself.” The withdrawal is expected to be completed before the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“The war in Afghanistan has never been a multidimensional initiative,” Biden added.
NATO, which has tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan and relies on US infrastructure, will also begin withdrawing its personnel in line with Washington on May 1, saying it will probably end in “a few months”.
“It is not realistic for us to be in position when we leave the United States,” a UK defense official said of the number 50 in the country. “If they go, so do we.”
The order marks Biden as a sign of continuing a long effort to draw a line under the US deployment in Afghanistan. He is the Vice President under Barack Obama Anti An “encouragement” from Pentagon-backed troops.
Biden’s order was not a reflection of the previous policy announcement that the withdrawal would depend on the conditions on the ground, a change that has been overtaken by critics of the decision.
The U.S. president has identified efforts to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal of the military as futile.
“We cannot continue the expectation of creating an ideal situation to increase or expand the military presence in Afghanistan and expect different outcomes,” he said.
Instead, “we need to focus on the challenges we face,” he said, referring to the need to conduct and disrupt terrorist networks and operations that have spread beyond Afghanistan, and to intensify US competition to meet the demands he has made. Tough competition from “growing strong China”.
The number of US troops increased by more than one million in 2010 before the decade of 2015. The United States still has 2,500 troops in Afghanistan.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack 20 years ago. That doesn’t explain why we should be there in 2021,” Biden said.
U.S. forces quickly ousted the Taliban from power in Kabul – a domestic Islamist group with ties to al Qaeda. But two decades later, the group still holds vast territories and territories The power stands to get back And many of the human rights abuses committed in the intervening years.
“The Taliban have a chance to gain on this battlefield, and the Afghan government will fight to appease the Taliban if it withdraws its support,” the National Intelligence Director’s Office said in a report released this week.
Possibility Peace treatyThe United States has spent more than two years trying to broker under the Trump and Biden administrations, “next year will be less,” the report added.
Biden’s announcement drew criticism from several top Republicans as well as Democrats.
Johnny Shahin, a Democratic senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was “extremely disappointed” and that Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan had undermined Washington’s commitment to the Afghan people, and especially to Afghan women.
Under the Taliban government, women had very little access to education or the role of the public and had to wear a wide veil outside their homes.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell has called the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan a “grave mistake.”
“This is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet defeated and rejected the American leadership,” he said.
Biden said his administration would support the Afghan government and continue its diplomatic and humanitarian work. The United States will continue to train and equip the 300,000-strong Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
According to U.S. officials, a number of special operations forces, including a narrow anti-terrorism remnant, may also be in the country, focusing on the potential U.S. threat from ISIS and al-Qaeda. The force is not among the 2,500 US troops officially stationed in the country.
Additional report by Helen Warrell in London