Joe Biden defends US exist from Afghanistan, calls it a wise decision
New Delhi : US 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," Biden said defending the final withdrawal. And added "This is the right decision. A wise decision. And the best decision for America.”
The US president called the operation that airlifted 120,000 Americans, allies and Afghan partners an “extraordinary success”.
Biden also defended the exit date of August 31 saying it was not an “arbitrary deadline” but it was “designed to save American lives”.
The last American military aircraft involved in the evacuation operation left the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul at 11.59 pm local time on Monday with Major Gen Chris Donahue, commander of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division, the last US personnel to leave Afghan soil.
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” Biden said.
Biden called the evacuation an extraordinary success saying no country in history has done more to airlift out the residents of another country, as we have done.
Biden said when he decided in April to end the Afghanistan war, the assumption was that the Afghan military that had been trained and equipped by the United States would put up a fight and there. “The assumption that the Afghan government would be able to hold on for a period of time beyond military drawdown turned out not to be accurate.”
Biden said staying in Afghanistan longer served no national interest, because of the goal of going there had been achieved a decade ago with the killing of Osama bin Laden and decimation of Al-Qaeda. The US had stayed there for another decade and it was time to end the war.
Biden maintained the US will remain focused on combating terrorism, but it does not have to fight a ground war to do it. Using over-the-horizon capabilities, terrorists can be struck anywhere in without “American boots on the ground - or very few, if needed”.
And to the Islamic State-Khorasan, which has claimed responsibility for the Kabul airport bombing that killed 170 Afghans and 13 US troops, Biden said, “We are not done with you yet.”