The United States has ended its military mission in Afghanistan after 20 years — the longest war in American history.
U.S. diplomats, military, and intelligence professionals risked their lives to get American citizens, at-risk Afghans who helped us, other vulnerable Afghans, including women, children, and members of minority groups, citizens of our Allies and partners, and others onboard planes and out of the country.
Speaking to the nation, President Joe Biden said, “We completed one of the biggest airlifts in history, with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety.”
The U.S.-led operation ended up getting more than 5,500 Americans out. However, it is estimated that 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan.
“For those remaining Americans,” said President Biden, “there is no deadline:”
“We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out. Secretary of State Blinken is leading the continued diplomatic efforts to ensure a safe passage for any American, Afghan partner, or foreign national who wants to leave Afghanistan. . . .It will include ongoing efforts in Afghanistan to reopen the airport, as well as overland routes, allowing for continued departure to those who want to leave, and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”
Tragically, ISIS-K terrorists killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 civilians during the mission.
To those who wish America harm, President Biden had this warning:
“The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and we will — you will pay the ultimate price.”
The fundamental obligation of a President is to defend and protect the United States — not against the threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow, declared President Biden:
“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.”
“As we close 20 years of war and strife and pain and sacrifice, it’s time to look to the future, not the past — to a future that’s safer, to a future that’s more secure, to a future that honors those who served and all those who gave what President Lincoln called their ‘last full measure of devotion.’”