President Biden announced that, after almost 20 years in Afghanistan, U.S. troops will fully withdraw from the country. “It’s time to end America’s longest war," he said. "It’s time for American troops to come home.”
JOE BIDEN: I believe that 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. We accomplished that objective.
I said, along with others, we'd follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be. That's exactly what we did. And we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President Obama's commitment in the form. And that's exactly what happened. Osama bin Laden was gone.
That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago. And we've stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons to remain in Afghanistan become increasingly unclear even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved.
Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe. al-Shabaab in Somalia, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Nusra in Syria, ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.
With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and our leaders. 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.
I'm now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan, two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth. After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats, and our development experts, with the Congress and the vice president, as well as with Mr. Ghani and many others around the world, I've concluded that it's time to end America's longest war. It's time for American troops to come home.