WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.
According to the Department of Defense, the $1 trillion war has cost the lives of more than 2,200 U.S. troops and wounded more than 20,000.
“The war in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said.
After the announcement, Biden visited the Arlington National Cemetery’s section 60, where many of the troops who died during the war in Afghanistan are buried. He said he also thought about his son Beau Biden’s deployment to Iraq before dying of cancer in 2015.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” Biden said. “That should not explain why we should remain there in 2021.”
Osama bin Laden is dead and his al-Qaida weakened. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg agreed and committed to withdrawing the remaining 7,000 troops from Afghanistan.
Biden told Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani that the U.S. will continue to support peace talks with the Taliban and continue providing assistance with development, humanitarian aid, and security, according to the White House.
“I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan: Two Republicans. Two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”
During a Senate Select Committee hearing on Wednesday, CIA Director William Burns said “the ability to collect and act on threats will diminish” after the withdrawal.
Sen. Rick Scott wrote on Twitter that “the world is a more dangerous place” since Biden took office.
“The Taliban should know that if they attack us, as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all of the tools at our disposal,” Biden said.
Biden’s Transporation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.
“Having served in that conflict, I know how many American lives have been affected by it,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg has been pitching the $2 trillion American Jobs plan on infrastructure.
“In South Florida, we see a lot of bridges, a lot of roads that need repair, and this is an opportunity to do something about that,” Buttigieg said.
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