Biden Announces Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

Biden Announces Troop Withdrawal From Afghanistan

April 15, 2021, 7:10 a.m.

US President Joe Biden has announced that his country will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

Biden delivered a speech at the White House on Wednesday.

He stressed that his country's military operations in Afghanistan have already reached their objective with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

"I believed our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place, to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that," Biden said.

"It is time to end America's longest war," he said.

The US launched military operations in Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Up to around 100,000 troops were stationed in the country.

In February last year, the administration of former President Donald Trump and the Taliban signed a peace agreement that called for the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by May 1 this year.

But Biden suggested that completing the pullout by then would be difficult as fighting and terrorist attacks continue in the country.

In his speech, Biden said the US will begin the final withdrawal on May 1, apparently stressing that his decision does not go against the agreement.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said on Twitter that his country respects the decision and will work with the US to ensure a smooth transition. He said Afghanistan's security and defense forces are fully capable of defending the people and country.

The Taliban denounced the delay of the complete withdrawal by more than four months.

A spokesperson tweeted that if the agreement is breached and foreign forces fail to exit the country on the specified date, problems will "certainly be compounded" and those who failed to comply with the agreement "will be held liable."

In a statement released in March, the Taliban indicated that if the US failed to observe the May 1 deadline, they would resume attacks.

Source: NHK

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