Obama: Biden made ‘right decision’ on Afghanistan
Former President Obama on Wednesday praised President Biden’s announcement that he would withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the coming months, saying it’s “time to turn the page” on America’s longest-running war.
“President Biden has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan,” Obama said in a statement, offering his thanks to the men and women who served in Afghanistan and the Afghan people.
“It has been a long and arduous struggle in Afghanistan, rooted in our response to the deadliest terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland in our history,” Obama continued. “American troops, diplomats, and development workers can take pride in their efforts to deliver justice for 9/11, destroy al Qaeda’s safe-haven, train Afghan Security Forces, and support the people of Afghanistan.”
The White House said Biden and Obama spoke ahead of the president’s speech on Wednesday outlining the decision.
Obama acknowledged the “very difficult challenges and further hardship ahead in Afghanistan” and called for the U.S. to remain engaged in the country diplomatically to support its progress on human rights.
“But after nearly two decades of putting our troops in harm’s way, it is time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and that it’s time to bring our remaining troops home,” Obama said. “I support President Biden’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.”
Biden on Wednesday from the Treaty Room of the White House announced that he would begin winding down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan beginning on May 1, with the goal of fully withdrawing troops from the country by Sept. 11, 2021.
“I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth,” Biden said in prepared remarks.
“It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home,” he said.
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.”
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, 2021. Biden said he would be unable to meet that commitment, but in a nod to the significance of the agreement said U.S. forces would begin drawing down May 1.
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