President Joe Biden defended his decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan, saying it was in the US national interest.
"We no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan," he said a day after the final withdrawal. This is the right decision. A wise decision. And the best decision for America," he said.
In his first address after the United States withdrew its forces from Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden said that this was the 'right, wise and the best' decision for America'.
Blaming Donald Trump for an agreement with the Taliban, Biden said that when he came to office, the Taliban was in its strongest military position since 2001, controlling of contesting nearly half of the country.
"The previous administration’s agreement said that if we stuck to the May 1st deadline that they had signed on to leave by, the Taliban wouldn’t attack any American forces, but if we stayed, all bets were off," he said.
The president touched upon several issues relating to the US, Afghanistan, ISIS in his speech:
"...We were ready when the Afghan Security Forces — after two decades of fighting for their country and losing thousands of their own — did not hold on as long as anyone expected. We were ready when they and the people of Afghanistan watched their own government collapse and their president flee amid the corruption and malfeasance, handing over the country to their enemy, the Taliban, and significantly increasing the risk to US personnel and our Allies," Biden said blaming the failure of the Afghan forces.
"The Taliban has made public commitments, broadcast on television and radio across Afghanistan, on safe passage for anyone wanting to leave, including those who worked alongside Americans. We don’t take them by their word alone but by their actions, and we have leverage to make sure those commitments are met," Biden said adding that leaving on August 31 was not due to any arbitrary deadline but to save American lives.
"My predecessor, the former President, signed an agreement with the Taliban to remove U.S. troops by May the 1st, just months after I was inaugurated. It included no requirement that the Taliban work out a cooperative governing arrangement with the Afghan government, but it did authorize the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including some of the Taliban’s top war commanders, among those who just took control of Afghanistan," Biden said.
Defending the decision of leaving Afghanistan since the national interest of the United States, Biden said that the US now can't afford to address the threats it used to face in 2001. "This is a new world. The terror threat has metastasized across the world, well beyond Afghanistan. We face threats from al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda affiliates in Syria and the Arabian Peninsula; and ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates across Africa and Asia," he said.
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"We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries. We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it. We have what’s called over-the-horizon capabilities, which means we can strike terrorists and targets without American boots on the ground — or very few, if needed. We’ve shown that capacity just in the last week. We struck ISIS-K remotely, days after they murdered 13 of our servicemembers and dozens of innocent Afghans. And to ISIS-K: We are not done with you yet," Biden said.
Biden remembered his son Beau Biden who served in Iraq for a full year as he said he was committed to stopping the war. Beu died in 2015 at the age of 46 from brain cancer. "I don’t think enough people understand how much we have asked of the 1 per cent of this country who put that uniform on, who are willing to put their lives on the line in defense of our nation. Maybe it’s because my deceased son, Beau, served in Iraq for a full year, before that. Well, maybe it’s because of what I’ve seen over the years as senator, vice president, and president traveling these countries," Biden said.