'Not just about Afghanistan': Biden explains reasoning behind US troops pullout

Updated on Sep 01, 2021 08:41 AM IST

Biden said that the "real choice" in Afghanistan was "between leaving and escalating"; he avoided any mention of apology over how the war ended.

US president delivers remarks on Afghanistan during a speech at White House in Washington. (File Photo / REUTERS)
US president delivers remarks on Afghanistan during a speech at White House in Washington. (File Photo / REUTERS)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

United States president Joe Biden on Wednesday, September 1, said that the decision to pull out US troops from Afghanistan was "not just about Afghanistan". Explaining the reasoning behind the move, Biden said that the United States had to end "an era of major military operations" in order to 'remake' other countries.

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"This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan," US president Joe Biden wrote in a tweet. "It's about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries."

In a statement earlier in the day, Biden vigorously defended the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, ending its longest military operation yet, which spanned over nearly two decades. "My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over," Biden said at the White House. "I'm the fourth president who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war. When I was running for president, I made a commitment to the American people that I would end this war. Today I've honored that commitment."

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Biden said that the "real choice" in Afghanistan was "between leaving and escalating"; he avoided any mention of apology over how the war ended.

"I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit," he said, in a prompt statement that underlined his disregard for critics who point out that leaving behind US troops in Afghanistan was a feasible way to keep the Taliban at bay. Noting that the US "no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan", Biden said that the US withdrawal signals an end to an era of major military operations to remake other countries.

The last American military aircraft involved in the evacuation left the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul at 11:59 pm local time, with Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division, the last US personnel to leave Afghan soil. It marked the conclusion of the US military mission in Afghanistan, ending its longest war and bringing down the curtain on a 20-year-old sketchy campaign that ended with a frantic last-minute rush of evacuations and a suicide bombing that killed 13 Americans and 170 Afghans.

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