Biden says US military mission in Afghanistan will end August 31
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday said the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on Aug. 31, saying “speed is safety” as the United States seeks to end the nearly 20-year war.
“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build,” Biden said in a speech to update his administration’s ongoing efforts to wind down the U.S. war in Afghanistan. “Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future.”
Biden also amplified the justification of his decision to end U.S. military operations even as the Taliban make rapid advances in significant swaths of the country, The Associated Press reports.
The effort to further explain his thinking on Afghanistan comes as the administration in recent days has repeatedly sought to frame ending the conflict as a decision that Biden made after concluding it’s an “unwinnable war” and one that “does not have a military solution.”
Biden said he didn’t trust the Taliban but trusted the capacity of the Afghan military to defend the government.
Before his speech, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden administration officials always anticipated an “uptick” in violence and greater turmoil as the U.S. withdrawal moved forward. She added that prolonging U.S. military involvement, considering former President Donald Trump had already agreed to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 2021, would have led to an escalation of attacks on American troops.
Biden said it was “highly unlikely” that one government will control Afghanistan after the U.S. pullout, and urged the Afghan government to reach a deal with the Taliban, according to AP.
The president added that there is no “mission accomplished” moment as the U.S. war comes to an end.
“The mission was accomplished in that we got Osama bin Laden and terrorism is not emanating from that part of the world,” he said.
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