As the US leaves, Biden believes it’s up to Afghans to rule their country

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President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw US military forces from Afghanistan on Thursday, saying that rather than sacrificing another generation of Americans in an unwinnable conflict, the Afghan people must select their own future.

Biden, speaking in the East Room of the White House, said the Afghan military has the capability to repel the Taliban, whose substantial advances in recent weeks have prompted fears of the country devolving into civil conflict.

The complete evacuation of US forces, excluding roughly 650 personnel to maintain protection for the US embassy in Kabul, is slated for August 31, according to Biden.

Biden, a longtime critic of the country’s 20-year military presence, said the US has long since achieved its original goal of rooting out al-Qaeda extremists and preventing another assault on the US like the one that occurred on September 11, 2001. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attack, was killed by a US military team in 2011.

“That is why we went: to achieve those goals. We did not go to Afghanistan to help construct a country. And the Afghan people alone have the right and obligation to select their own future and how they wish to rule their country “he stated

Biden urged governments in the region to assist in bringing the warring parties closer to a political settlement. He believes the Afghan government should try to reach an agreement with the Taliban so that they can coexist peacefully.

He stated that the “The only way to achieve peace and security in Afghanistan is to reach an agreement with the Taliban…

And it’s quite doubtful that Afghanistan will have a single unified administration in charge of the entire country.”

Biden’s speech was his most detailed yet on the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite pressure from critics to explain his decision.

In preparation for the conclusion of the US military mission in Afghanistan, Biden said the US expects to relocate thousands of Afghan interpreters out of the country.

President Joe Biden of the United States speaks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2021, about the administration’s sustained drawdown operations in Afghanistan. Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS

President Joe Biden of the United States speaks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 2021, about the administration’s sustained drawdown operations in Afghanistan. Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS

They will be sent to third countries and will be able to apply for US visas to enter the country, he said. The locations are still being finalized. According to a senior administration official, Guam, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are all prospective candidates.

Last weekend, the United States abandoned Bagram Air Base, the country’s long-time staging ground for US military operations, thereby concluding America’s longest war. find out more According to the Pentagon, the evacuation of US forces is 90% complete.

In a deal reached last year under Biden’s Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, the US decided to withdraw. Military chiefs who wanted to preserve a greater presence in Afghanistan to aid Afghan security forces and prevent the country from becoming a staging ground for extremist groups were overruled by Biden.

After peace talks sputtered in April, Biden’s order to withdraw US soldiers by September 11 coincided with strong gains by the Islamist militant Taliban organization against overburdened Afghan forces.

According to Afghan security sources, Taliban fighters gained control of a district in western Afghanistan on Thursday, which includes a major border crossing with Iran, as the Islamist rebels maintained their fast military advances across the nation. find out more

The Taliban have taken control of territory bordering five nations in the last week: Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan.

General Austin Miller, the commander of US troops in Afghanistan, warned this week that the country could be on the verge of civil war.

According to US government sources familiar with official assessments, the US intelligence community believes the Afghan military is weak and the Kabul government’s chances of survival in the short term are slim.

Biden’s administration is also debating whether to proceed with a plan to accelerate visas for Afghans who are most vulnerable to Taliban attacks, such as translators who cooperate with international forces. Up to 2,000 vulnerable women might be added to the list, according to rights groups.

Although Trump had secured an agreement with the Taliban to halt American involvement in the conflict, some Republicans are condemning Biden for the exit.

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