Biden says will address America on why deadline to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan was not extended

Published on Aug 31, 2021 08:13 AM IST

As the US concluded its military presence in Afghanistan on August 30, a day before the August 31 deadline, Joe Biden said in a statement that the decision was a 'unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs.'

US President Joe Biden (File Photo/AFP)
US President Joe Biden (File Photo/AFP)
By | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi

US president Joe Biden announced on Monday (local time) he will address the nation on Tuesday to explain his decision not to extend the deadline beyond August 31 to end America’s military presence in Afghanistan. Biden’ announcement, made in a statement released by the White House, came as the United States completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, thus ending its 20-year military presence in the country.

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“Tomorrow afternoon, I will address the American people on my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond August 31. For now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned,” the statement quoted Biden as saying.

The commander’s view, he noted, was that concluding the military mission was the “best way” to protect the lives of the US troops, as well as to secure the prospects of civilian departures from the war-torn country in “the weeks and months ahead.”

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Biden described the evacuation efforts from Kabul as the “largest airlift in our nation’s history,” adding that since August 14, a day before the Taliban captured the Afghan capital, more than 120,000 people including Americans, citizens of US allies, and its Afghan allies were evacuated safely by the US military.

The president also stressed he had directed secretary of state Antony Blinken to lead the ongoing joint international efforts to ensure safe exit from Afghanistan of US nationals, Afghans and foreign nationals who wished to leave that country.

Also Read | Why did Biden choose August 31 as deadline for US withdrawal? Here's a timeline

Biden concluded by expressing gratitude for the sacrifice of 13 service members who were among the victims of a suicide blast at the Kabul airport on August 26. The attack was claimed by ISIS-Khorasan.

With all its troops now out of Afghanistan, the Biden administration has suspended its diplomatic presence in Kabul, shifting operations to Doha, the capital city of Qatar. Major General Chris Donahue became the last US service member to leave the Afghan soil.

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