Biden spoke to Bush, Obama ahead of Afghanistan troop withdrawal

President Biden spoke to former President George W. Bush on Tuesday ahead of his announcement that he intended to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

“I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision,” Biden said in prepared remarks outlining his plans for the withdrawal.

“While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we’re absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, the courage and integrity of the women and men in the United States Armed Forces who served, and immensely grateful for the bravery and backbone they have shown through nearly two decades of combat deployments,” he said. 

Biden also called former President Obama the day before he announced the decision, the White House said.

Biden delivered his remarks in the Treaty Room of the White House, the same room where Bush announced in 2001 the first airstrikes in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In arguing for pulling U.S. forces out of Afghanistan and ending America’s longest war, Biden said the events of 9/11 “cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.”

“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,” Biden said.

Former President Obama and former President Trump both pledged during their time in office to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan but were unable to follow through.

Trump’s administration negotiated an agreement with Taliban and Afghanistan leaders stating the U.S. would withdraw its forces by May 1. Biden said he would be unable to meet that commitment, but that the U.S. would begin to wind down its presence May 1, with the goal of having American personnel out of the country fully by Sept. 11. 

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden

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