Biden says American troops shouldn’t fight in Afghanistan if Afghan forces won’t fight for themselves

In a speech on Monday about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden said that American troops shouldn’t fight and die in a war that the Afghan military wouldn’t fight themselves.

Video Transcript

JOE BIDEN: The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what's happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed some time without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending new US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision. American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.

We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force with some 300,000 strong, incredibly well-equipped, a force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies. We gave them every tool they could need.

We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their Air Force, something the Taliban doesn't have. Taliban does not have an Air Force. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.

There are some very brave and capable Afghan special forces units and soldiers. But if Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance of the Taliban now, there is no chance that one year, one more year, five more years, or 20 more years of US military boots on the ground would have made any difference.

Here's what I believe to my core. It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan's own armed forces would not. The political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down. They would never have done so while US troops remained in Afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them.