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

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

Biden’s handle 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 battle in Afghanistan is now over,” Biden stated from the White Home.

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

“After I was working for president I made a dedication that I’d finish this battle, and at the moment I’ve honored that dedication. It was time to be trustworthy with the American folks; we not had a transparent function in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan,” he stated.

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

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 almost 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 have 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 referred to as a mission of mercy.

On Sunday, the president and first woman 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 aircraft to a automobile.

“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 overlook,” the president stated of the fallen on Tuesday.

Although Biden stated 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 stated he tasked his nationwide safety group to organize for each eventuality, together with a swift Taliban takeover, and blamed the Afghan authorities for the nation’s speedy collapse.

“We have been prepared when the Afghan safety forces after twenty 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 stated.

“We have 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 rising the danger to U.S. personnel and our allies,” Biden stated.

“Let me be clear, leaving on Aug. 31 is just not attributable to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save lots of American lives,” the president stated.

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

Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, the four-star commander of U.S. Central Command, stated no Individuals have been aboard the ultimate 5 flights out of Kabul on Monday. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated throughout a Monday night handle 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, have been additionally airlifted out on Monday, in line with the final.

Biden in his Tuesday handle stated that “90% of Individuals in Afghanistan who wished to go away have been capable of depart.” The U.S. will maintain the Taliban accountable for guaranteeing secure passage to anybody who nonetheless needs to go away the nation, he stated.

“For these remaining Individuals, there is no such thing as a deadline. We stay dedicated to get them out in the event that they need to come out,” the president stated.

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 offered sanctuary to al-Qaeda, the terrorist group that deliberate and carried out the devastating assaults on the World Commerce Heart 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 price U.S. taxpayers greater than $1.57 trillion collectively since Sept. 11, 2001, in line with a Protection Division report.

Biden, in his handle Tuesday, stated the U.S. should study 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 stated.

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

“As we flip the web page on the international coverage that has guided our nation over the past twenty years, we have got to study from our errors,” Biden stated.

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

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