Biden Stands Firm On Afghanistan: I 'Will Not Pass This War Onto a Fifth' US President
President outlines five-point plan for US involvement
Despite facing some of the worst political blowback of his presidency, Joe Biden stood firm in his moves to end US military intervention in Afghanistan — despite the fact that nation is tumbling further into control of the Taliban by the day.
Republicans and other political opponents of Biden's have been piling on as images escape Afghanistan of a nation in turmoil as Taliban fighters unexpectedly have retaken most of the country — including now the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Indeed, Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga) said that she intends to file articles of impeachment against Biden over the goings-on in Afghanistan.
But, in a statement Monday, Biden didn't waver in his initiative to put a cap on what has been a nearly 20-year US military intervention.
US troops first entered Afghanistan in 2002 in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, because the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan at the time gave safe haven to the al-Qaeda masterminds who plotted the attacks.
In the intervening years, al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed and the rest of the terrorist organization degraded.
In his White House statement Monday, Biden articulated a 5-point plan for US involvement in Afghanistan going forward.
Biden has redeployed 5,000 U.S. troops to the country temporarily, to ensure an orderly and safe drawdown of U.S. personnel and other allied personnel, and an orderly and safe evacuation of Afghans who helped US troops during their long mission as well as any others at special risk from the Taliban advance.
He also ordered US forces and its intelligence community to maintain capability and vigilance to address future terrorist threats from Afghanistan.
Biden directed Secretary of State Antony Blinken to support Afghanistan's president and other Afghan leaders as they seek to prevent further bloodshed and pursue a political settlement. Blinken is also tasked with engaging with key regional stakeholders.
The administration has conveyed to the Taliban representatives in Doha, Qatar, via US military leadership there, that any action on their part on the ground in Afghanistan, that puts U.S. personnel or their mission at risk there, will be met with a “swift and strong” U.S. military response.
Finally, Biden placed Ambassador Tracey Jacobson in charge of a government-wide effort to process, transport, and relocate Afghan special immigrant visa applicants and other Afghan allies. “Our hearts go out to the brave Afghan men and women who are now at risk. We are working to evacuate thousands of those who helped our cause and their families,” the president said.
Biden, however, was just as forthright about how the United States came to be involved with this morass and quagmire.
“America went to Afghanistan 20 years ago to defeat the forces that attacked this country on September 11th. That mission resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden over a decade ago and the degradation of al Qaeda. And yet, 10 years later, when I became President, a small number of U.S. troops still remained on the ground, in harm’s way, with a looming deadline to withdraw them or go back to open combat,” Biden said in the White House statement. “Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in U.S. history. One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on U.S. Forces,” Biden added. “Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. Forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500. Therefore, when I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our Forces and our allies’ Forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.”
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