Biden announces US will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 9/11 'to end America's longest war'

Biden announces US will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by 9/11 'to end America's longest war'

PRESIDENT Joe Biden confirmed the US will withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan by Septemeber 11, 2021 to end "the longest war in US history."

Biden confirmed all 2,500 American troops would be brought home over the course of four months, starting from May 1 – the withdrawal deadline agreed between Donald Trump and the Taliban.

The president announced the withdrawal during a White House press conference this afternoon from the historic Roosevelt Room.

"I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan," Biden told reporters shortly after 2.30pm ET.

"Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth. It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home."

"The United States will begin our final withdrawal on May 1 of this year," Biden said. "We will do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely."

Biden said the Taliban should know that the US will "defend our allies and partners with all the tools at our disposal," however.

He said they would be out of Afghanistan by the anniversary of September 11.

"My team is defining our national strategy," Biden continued, adding that he had alerted Bush about his decision and that they were united in their admiration of the people who served in the US Army.

"They have the thanks of a grateful nation," he went on and pointed that "our diplomacy does not hinge" on having American troops deployed there indefinitely.

"We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago," he said. "That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021."

Biden said "we have to focus on the challenge that are in front of us," highlighting the tensions with China, "cyber threats" in 2021, and strengthening global health care in light of the pandemic.

He dismissed the arguments for "staying longer" and explained that his predecessors were relunctant to actually leave, despite the reason for stayingbecoming "increasingly unclear."

"In this moment, there is a significant risk to staying beyond May 1," Biden told reporters, ahead of his visit to Arlington Cemetery in Virginia today. "We have to have clear answers.

"Just what conditions allow us to depart? By what means and how long would it take to achieve them? And [how many lives lost?]"

"War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking. We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives," he concluded, before leaving the podium.

"Bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda is degraded … and it’s time to the end the forever war."

Earlier, Biden referenced the military service of his late son, Beau, and lamented the American lives lost, men and women he described as "sacred human beings" who left families behind.

Former president Barack Obama issued his support of Biden's decision to end the "longest war" and looked forward to the "next chapter" with the embattled country.

"After nearly two decades in Afghanistan, it’s time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and bring our remaining troops home," he wrote.

"I support @POTUS’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world."

Following the 9/11 attacks on the US, Bush sent American forces into Afghanistan to break up and disrupt the Taliban, a movement headed by Osama bin Laden that trained financed and exported terrorist teams. 

Biden's move to pull out troops by the anniversay of this is four months after the May 1 deadline for complete withdrawal which was struck as part of peace talks in February with the Trump administration and the Taliban.

It is feared postponing the US withdrawal for four months could risk of the Taliban resuming attacks on US and coalition forces, however.

Biden previously admitted it would be "tough" to meet the deadline.

Former and serving officers in the US military are warning the Taliban is in a position of relative strength and the Afghan government in a fragile state, would risk losing what has been gained in 20 years of fighting.

A bipartisan experts group known as the Afghan Study Group has concluded: "A withdrawal would not only leave America more vulnerable to terrorist threats.

"It would also have catastrophic effects in Afghanistan and the region that would not be in the interest of any of the key actors, including the Taliban,"

The group, whose co-chair, retired General Joseph Dunford, is a former commander of US forces in Afghanistan and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, recommended Biden extend a March deadline imposed by the Taliban.

It’s time to the end the forever war.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were meeting senior officials from the alliances 30 members today to discuss Nato’s future presence in Afghanistan in light of the announcement.

Blinken said: "Together, we went into Afghanistan to deal with those who attacked us and to make sure that Afghanistan would not again become a haven for terrorists who might attack any of us, Blinken said. And together, we have achieved the goals that we set out to achieve. 

"And now it is time to bring our forces home.

"We will work very closely together in the weeks and months ahead on a safe, deliberate and coordinated withdrawal of our forces from Afghanistan."

The Taliban insurgents have largely stuck to a promise not to attack US or other foreign troops since the agreement was struck in February last year.

The insurgency group said the May 1 date to end America's longest war was inflexible and threatened all-out war.

Currently, there are about 3,500 US troops and 10,000 Nato troops in Afghanistan.

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