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Biden says the period of U.S. nation constructing is over as he marks the top of the Afghanistan conflict

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden in an deal with to the nation Tuesday gave a full-throated protection of his resolution to finish the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan after practically 20 years of battle, declaring the period of enormous U.S. navy deployments to rebuild different nations as over.

Biden’s deal with got here simply 11 days earlier than the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults that precipitated the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan.

“My fellow Individuals, the conflict in Afghanistan is now over,” Biden mentioned from the White Home.

“I am the fourth president who has confronted the problem of whether or not and when to finish this conflict,” he mentioned.

“After I was operating for president I made a dedication that I’d finish this conflict, and as we speak I’ve honored that dedication. It was time to be sincere with the American folks; we not had a transparent goal in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan,” he mentioned.

“This resolution about Afghanistan is not only about Afghanistan, it is about ending an period of main navy operations to remake different international locations,” the president mentioned.

At 3:29 p.m. ET on Monday, one minute earlier than midnight Kabul time, the final C-17 cargo plane carrying U.S. forces took off from Hamid Karzai Worldwide Airport, successfully ending America’s two-decade navy marketing campaign in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, ousted from energy by the U.S. shortly after the 9/11 assaults, now management practically the entire nation.

The departure of U.S. forces got here on the finish of a colossal 17-day humanitarian evacuation of 123,000 folks determined to flee Taliban rule. Of these, 6,000 had been U.S. residents.

Within the remaining days of the mission, a suicide bomber affiliated with ISIS detonated an explosive close to the gates of the airport, killing 13 U.S. service members and greater than 100 Afghans.

Biden praised the service members who gave their lives as heroes and thanked all members of the navy, the diplomatic corps and the intelligence group who risked their security for what he known as a mission of mercy.

On Sunday, the president and first girl Jill Biden traveled to Dover Air Pressure Base to satisfy privately with the households of the fallen earlier than observing the dignified switch of American flag-draped caskets from a C-17 navy cargo airplane to a car.

“We owe them and their households a debt of gratitude that may by no means be repaid, however we should always by no means ever neglect,” the president mentioned of the fallen on Tuesday.

Although Biden mentioned he took full duty for the choice to withdraw by Aug. 31, he pushed again towards critics who say the White Home was unprepared for the chaos that ensued as American forces exited and the Taliban quickly seized Afghanistan.

The president mentioned he tasked his nationwide safety staff to arrange for each eventuality, together with a swift Taliban takeover, and blamed the Afghan authorities for the nation’s speedy collapse.

“We had been prepared when the Afghan safety forces after 20 years of combating for his or her nation and shedding 1000’s of their very own didn’t maintain on so long as anybody anticipated,” Biden mentioned.

“We had been prepared when the folks of Afghanistan watched their very own authorities collapse and the president flee amid the corruption and malfeasance, handing over the nation to their enemy, the Taliban, and considerably growing the danger to U.S. personnel and our allies,” Biden mentioned.

“Let me be clear, leaving on Aug. 31 just isn’t as a consequence of an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save lots of American lives,” the president mentioned.

“It was time to finish this conflict,” Biden mentioned. “I used to be not going to increase this endlessly conflict, and I used to be not extending a endlessly exit.”

Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, the four-star commander of U.S. Central Command, mentioned no Individuals had been aboard the ultimate 5 flights out of Kabul on Monday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned throughout a Monday night deal with that fewer than 200 Individuals are nonetheless searching for evacuation.

McKenzie, who oversees the U.S. navy mission within the area, added that there have been no evacuees left on the airfield when the final C-17 took off. All U.S. service members and Afghan troops who helped defend the airport, together with their households, had been additionally airlifted out on Monday, in accordance with the final.

Biden in his Tuesday deal with mentioned that “90% of Individuals in Afghanistan who wished to depart had been capable of depart.” The U.S. will maintain the Taliban accountable for guaranteeing secure passage to anybody who nonetheless desires to depart the nation, he mentioned.

“For these remaining Individuals, there isn’t any deadline. We stay dedicated to get them out in the event that they need to come out,” the president mentioned.

The U.S. and NATO launched their navy marketing campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001, weeks after the 9/11 assaults. The Taliban on the time supplied sanctuary to al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that deliberate and carried out the devastating assaults on the World Commerce Middle and the Pentagon.

About 2,500 U.S. service members have died within the battle, which additionally claimed the lives of greater than 100,000 Afghan troops, police personnel and civilians. The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have value U.S. taxpayers greater than $1.57 trillion collectively since Sept. 11, 2001, in accordance with a Protection Division report.

Biden, in his deal with Tuesday, mentioned the U.S. should be taught from the errors of its two-decade navy intervention in Afghanistan. The U.S. achieved its mission to decimate al Qaeda and kill the terrorist group’s chief, Osama bin Laden, a decade in the past, the president mentioned.

Biden vowed to defend the U.S. towards evolving threats from terrorist teams, similar to ISIS, with out getting the U.S. concerned in one other floor conflict. The U.S. should now confront challenges from highly effective adversaries similar to Russia and China as properly, he mentioned.

“As we flip the web page on the international coverage that has guided our nation during the last 20 years, we have to be taught from our errors,” Biden mentioned.

“First, we should set missions with clear achievable targets, not ones we’ll by no means attain. And second, we should keep clearly targeted on the elemental nationwide safety pursuits of America.”

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