The United States will begin its final troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1 and complete it by September 11 of this year, announced President Joe Biden in a White House address.
Nearly 20 years ago, U.S. forces went to Afghanistan to root out al-Qaida and to prevent future terrorist attacks from originating in Afghanistan. “Our objective was clear. The cause was just,” said President Biden. But now, “It’s time for American troops to come home.”
Over the years the terrorist threat has changed and so must the U.S. response, said President Biden: “The threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia."
That’s why the U.S. is adapting its counterterrorism strategy explained President Biden: “We’ll reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent reemergence of terrorists. We’ll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil. The Afghan government has made that commitment to us as well. And we’ll focus our full attention on the threat we face today.”
President Biden expressed his “respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who served” in Afghanistan. He also acknowledged the contributions and sacrifices of U.S. allies and partners “who have stood beside us shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.”
While the U.S. will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, the President made clear that assistance would continue: “We’ll continue to support the government of Afghanistan. We will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defenses and Security Forces.”
And the United States is asking other countries in the region to help support Afghanistan, including Pakistan, Russia, China, India, and Turkey, which “all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan,” President Biden said.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking,” said President Biden. “We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan.”