U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. military would complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, earlier than expected, and dismissed growing concerns about an ongoing civil war. was developing in the US – occupied country since 2001.
“The mission is done in the fact that we have Osama bin Laden and that terrorism does not emanate from this part of the world,” Biden insisted, defending his decision to maintain the rapid withdrawal from the US in the face of escalating Taliban attacks on Afghan forces.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan after al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. The U.S. has withdrawn approximately 3,500 troops remaining in a process that the U.S. military now says is completed in a 90 by one hundred.
“Our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we had to move quickly,” Biden said.
“In this context, speed is security,” said the president, who is the army commander-in-chief of the U.S. system of government and who is the ultimate authority on troop deployment.
The United States will continue to have several hundred troops in Afghanistan to maintain the security of the U.S. embassy and diplomatic community in Kabul, as well as the city’s airport. And U.S. officials have said the military will maintain an “off-the-horizon” capability to respond to events.
The US withdrawal continues to American agreement came under former President Donald Trump in talks led by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad with the Taliban in Qatar. The United States agreed that American and foreign forces would leave on May 1st. In return, the Taliban promised to negotiate a peace agreement with the Western-backed government in Kabul.
When Biden took office in January, he faced a determined decision to follow the deal with the Taliban or watch American forces retreat into an expanding war.
Biden said on Thursday that he and his top advisers had concluded that the only path to peace and stability in Afghanistan is through a negotiated agreement between the Western-backed Afghan government in Kabul. regionals and the Taliban.
“We didn’t go into Afghanistan to build the nation,” the president said.
In the first significant peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban in months, a government delegation met with Taliban representatives in Tehran on July 8th. The two sides at war issued a joint statement who said that “war is not the solution to Afghanistan’s problem.”
It came when the Taliban claimed to have captured a major border crossing with Iran on Thursday, with the Taliban spokesman posting a video showing alleged fighters taking the Qala Islam border crossing and being welcomed by local residents. It would be the third international border the group has taken, as its fighters take territory around the country.
A Pentagon spokesman said Thursday that Taliban fighters did taken dozens of district centers in Afghanistan.
“They have taken dozens of district centers, it’s true. And we think they want to threaten provincial centers as well, “Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.
A Biden advocate rejected several questions asked by reporters at the White House, rejecting comparisons with the U.S. departure from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
“No. No, no, no,” Biden says when asked if the United States is responsible for the Afghan lives lost after the withdrawal.
“It is up to the people of Afghanistan to decide which government they want, not to impose the government on them.”
Biden denied that US intelligence agencies had concluded that the Afghan government would fall into the hands of the Taliban without the presence of US forces. Biden met at the White House with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and National Council President Abdullah Abdullah on June 25 and pledged to continue U.S. financial and diplomatic support to the government.
The Afghan army is well trained and equipped, Biden said, and the Taliban capture of Afghanistan is not inevitable. The United States has trained and equipped more than 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, although the Afghan military still relies on U.S. and foreign contractors for air aid.
“I don’t trust the Taliban, but I trust the capability of the Afghan army,” Biden said.
Biden offered a message to the performers and other Afghans who worked with troops: “In the United States there is a house for you, if you so desire, and we will be with you as you do with us.”
Congress is advancing legislation that Biden supports to remove bureaucratic obstacles to resettling thousands of potential Afghans and their families in U.S. territory, potentially the Pacific island of Guam.