WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday about the historic end of the 20-year war in Afghanistan, and the U.S. State Department’s ongoing efforts to continue to evacuate Americans.
The Pentagon reported evacuating more than 120,000 people from the Hamid Karzai International Airport after the Islamic State affiliate’s suicide bombing on Aug. 26 that killed 13 U.S. service members.
“Heroes gave their lives. I was just at Dover Air Force Base for the dignified transfer,” Biden said. “We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude we can never repay, but we should never, ever, ever forget.”
Biden said the U.S. military is now focused on fighting the culprits of the attack at the Kabul airport: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Khorasan Province, better known as Islamic State Khorasan or ISIS-K.
Days after the attack at the airport, the U.S. military killed two ISIS-K targets.
Watch the president’s address
Aug. 31: The Taliban remains in control of Afghanistan as an enemy of the Islamic State. According to the Pentagon’s casualty status report, 2,325 casualties and 20,686 wounded in action during operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Operation Enduring Freedom included 2,218 casualties and 20,093 wounded in action from Oct. 7, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2014, according to the report. Enduring Freedom included 107 casualties and 593 wounded in action after Dec. 31, 2014. The report doesn’t include veterans’ suicides or U.S. contractors’ deaths.
Aug. 30: U.S. troops depart the Kabul airport before the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline without evacuating about 100 U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind.
Aug. 27: The Pentagon announced the targeted attack killing of two ISIS-K members described as a planner and a facilitator of the suicide bombing.
Aug. 26: Islamic State K conducts a suicide bomber attack killing 13 U.S. service members and about 180 Afghans during evacuation efforts at Kabul airport. Biden vows retaliation.
Aug. 15: The Taliban takes control of Kabul, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani flees Afghanistan.
July 6: U.S. military turns over Bagram Airfield, the largest military facility in Afghanistan, to Afghan security forces.
April 14: Biden commits to withdraw by Aug. 31. “We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021,” Biden said.
Nov. 17, 2020: Former President Donald Trump loses the presidential election.
Feb. 29, 2020: The Trump administration agreed to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, and an envoy signed a peace agreement in Qatar.
Sept. 2, 2019: The Trump administration reaches an agreement with the Taliban and cancels a meeting at Camp David with Ghani and Taliban leaders.
Jan. 28, 2019: The Trump administration meets with Taliban leaders in Qatar, but doesn’t include the Ghani administration in the negotiations.
Aug. 21, 2017: Trump said a “hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum” and he sends another 3,000 troops to Afghanistan.
July 6, 2016: President Barack Obama stops plans for a withdrawal from Afghanistan. “The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious. Even as they improve, Afghan security forces are still not as strong as they need to be,” Obama said.
May 20, 2016: The U.S. designates ISIS-K as a foreign terrorist organization.
Jan. 26, 2015: Taliban who were dissatisfied with negotiations branch out to form ISIS-K and start to recruit other Taliban defectors and fighters from Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.
June 22, 2011: Obama started preliminary negotiations with the Taliban.
May 2, 2011: Obama announced CIA operatives found Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, in Pakistan, and the U.S. military killed him after a nighttime raid.
Dec. 1, 2009: Obama announces plans to deploy 30,000 troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan and promised to begin withdrawing troops in 2011.
Feb. 17, 2009: Obama deploys 17,000 troops to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.
May 23, 2005: Hamid Karzai meets with President George W. Bush at the White House and Bush commits to strengthening the Afghan military.
April 17, 2002: Bush announces a plan to help Afghanistan and starts a transition for a new transitional government led by Karzai in Kabul. Congress appropriates more than $38 billion in assistance to Afghanistan from 2001-09.
Oct. 7, 2001: The U.S. military bombs al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. CIA operatives and U.S. special forces support the Northern Alliance during covert operations.
Sept. 18, 2001: Bush authorizes the use of military force to respond to the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks after the U.S. intelligence community determined members of al Qaeda, a Taliban ally in Afghanistan, had hijacked planes to attack the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. A fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
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