President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the US military mission in Afghanistan “will conclude on August 31,” almost 20 years after it began , and assured that the takeover of the country by the Taliban “is not” inevitable.
Almost 20 years after the invasion following the September 11 attacks, US military forces have “achieved” their goals in the country: kill Osama bin Laden, degrade Al-Qaida and prevent further attacks against the United States, Biden said in a speech at the White House.
” We are ending America’s longest war, ” he said. “The status quo is not an option,” he said about staying in the country. “I will not send another generation of Americans to fight in Afghanistan.”
When asked if a seizure of power by the Taliban, who are intensifying the military offensive in the country, was “inevitable”, the president replied: “No, it is not.”
He also said that the Afghan authorities have “the ability” to ensure the continuity of the government.
To journalists who asked whether his own intelligence services had foreseen the collapse of the Afghan government, Biden answered categorically: “This is not true.”
” The likelihood that there is a united government in Afghanistan that controls the entire country is highly unlikely, ” he said, however.
Biden promised that “US support for the Afghan people will endure” despite the troop withdrawal, already 90% complete.
“We did not go to Afghanistan to build a nation,” he said. “It is the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people to decide their future . ”
Biden also spoke directly to Afghans who collaborated with the US military, who now risk retaliation for having assisted foreign forces.
” There is a home for you in the United States, if you choose, ” he said. “We will support you as you supported us.”
In her daily press conference, the presidential spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, reiterated that the timetable for the end of the war in Afghanistan is maintained despite the upturn in violence that the country has experienced in recent weeks.
“We are not going to have a moment of celebration, a moment of mission accomplished. It is a 20-year war that has not been won militarily, ”he stressed.
“The status quo was not an option,” Psaki said of the need to end the US presence on Afghan soil.
The Pentagon said on Wednesday that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has already been completed “by more than 90%” , bringing the end of a process that began on May 1 after almost two decades of war.
In addition, Washington reported that it had officially handed over seven former US bases to Afghan security forces and that it had evacuated the equivalent of nearly 1,000 shipments of equipment on C-17 jets from the country, before the September deadline to complete the withdrawal.
The departure of US troops has caused concern in the Afghan government due to the advances made by the Taliban insurgents in recent weeks, who have captured 100 of the 402 districts of the country, taking under their control more than 35% of the territories.
Launched in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans and some 2,400 US soldiers, as well as the White House a fortune .
The Americans began to leave Afghanistan leaving behind a deeply divided country that could fall back into the hands of the Taliban , determined to impose the same fundamentalist regime that they applied when they were in power between 1996 and 2001.
What for the United States had started as a simple mission to expel al Qaeda from its sanctuaries turned into an all-out war against the Taliban . Despite its military might, Washington failed to prevail .
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