AFGHANISTAN. Kabul: US President Joe Biden on Wednesday officially announced the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, after spending over 20 years, since it invaded Afghanistan in 2001, following the September 9/11 attack.
Biden said that it has been 10 years since Osama Bin Laden’s death, and it is time to end America’s war in the country and to bring US troops home.
“We will begin our withdrawal on May 1,” Biden said, adding that it will not be a “hasty rush to the exit,” and if the Taliban attacks, the US will defend itself and its allies with “all the tools at our disposal.”
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021,” he added.
‘Continue to aid Afghans’
Meanwhile, Biden reiterated the US diplomatic and humanitarian work to be continued in Afghanistan, stressing that the US will continue to aid Afghan security forces, the peace process with the Taliban, and support the rights of women and girls.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal, and expecting a different result,” he stated.
“Our diplomacy does not depend on having boots in harm’s way, boots on the ground,” Biden said. He also referred to the current dilemma in the Afghanistan war.
Earlier last month Biden said in a NATO conference that the US will leave Afghanistan with its partners responsibly. “We will together and will bring our troops home,” the president said. “We will withdraw our forces responsibly and deliberately.”
Biden said that the US has a commitment to those Afghans who worked with the US, and that removal of forces does not mean an end to US commitment.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said all allies agreed to start the withdrawal of NATO troops starting 1 May.
Meanwhile, the Taliban on Wednesday said their group will not attend any conference until the full withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. The decision comes as the stalled peace talks in Doha shed hopes for the Turkey conference which the Taliban has so far refused to attend.