WASHINGTON: After 20 years of American valour and sacrifice in Afghanistan, it’s time to bring troops home, US President Joe Biden has said, assuring fellow citizens that his administration will maintain capabilities to suppress future threats to the homeland.
Biden made this assurance to war-weary Americans in his maiden address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
“After 20 years of American valour and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home. Even as we do, we will maintain an over—the—horizon capability to suppress future threats to the homeland,” Biden said in his maiden address to a joint session of the US Congress.
“But make no mistake – the terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001 and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States, wherever they come from. Al Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond,” he said.
Earlier this month, Biden had announced that he will withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by September 11. The US will begin final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1 of this year.
There were 2,500 to 3,000 US troops in Afghanistan when Biden took office in January.
“American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan. We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. And I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have had a child serving in a warzone,” he said.
“Today, we have service members serving in the same war as their parents once did. We have service members in Afghanistan who were not yet born on 9/11. War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking of nation-building,” he said.
“We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. We delivered justice to Osama Bin Laden and we degraded the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan,” he said.
The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.
Under the US-Taliban pact signed in Doha, Qatar, the US agreed to withdraw all its soldiers from Afghanistan in 14 months.
Since the US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban after the September 11, 2001 attacks, America has spent more than $1 trillion in fighting and rebuilding in Afghanistan.
About 2,450 US soldiers have been killed and over 20,700 others have been injured in the war in Afghanistan.