Kabul: In his first formal address to US lawmakers since he took office, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan after 20 years reflected American leadership.
“The drawdown will not endanger national security. We are halting the cycle of endless armed conflict, a conflict which was dragged on for generations. It’s time to bring our troops home,” said President Joe Biden.
The US commander in chief had announced earlier this month that US will withdraw it’s troops from the war-ravaged country by September 11, ending the forever war.
“We went to Afghanistan to get the terrorists who attacked us on September 11. We got Osama bin Laden and we degraded the terrorist threat of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan,” said Biden, whose decision has drawn criticism from security experts who are wary of a civil war in Afghanistan, after foreign troops leave the country.
Some members of Biden’s own party have expressed concerns that the Afghan government won’t be able to defend itself, and some conservatives have expressed concern the withdrawal deadline gives insurgents a timeline to cause violence.
Concluding Biden did mention that “we will maintain an over-the-horizon capability to suppress future threats to the homeland”, however, he added that Afghanistan no longer represents the critical threat to national security it once did.
“The terrorist threat has evolved beyond Afghanistan since 2001, and we will remain vigilant against threats to the United States, wherever they come from,” he said. “Al-Qaeda and ISIS are in Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and other places in Africa and the Middle East and beyond.”
More than 2,400 U.S. troops have died, and more than 20,000 have been wounded in support of the war in Afghanistan, which has cost more than $2 trillion, according to the latest Cost of War study.