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Biden says the era of U.S. nation-building is over as he marks the end of the Afghanistan war

U.S. nation-building is over as Biden marks the end of the Afghanistan war

September 2, 2021: -On Tuesday, President Joe Biden, in an address to the nation, gave a full-throated defense of his decision to bring the U.S. war in Afghanistan to an end after almost 20 years of conflict, saying the era of significant U.S. military deployments to rebuild other nations has ended.

Biden’s address came 11 days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that precipitated the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan.

“My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is over now,” Biden said.

“I’m the fourth president facing the issue of whether and when to end this war,” Biden added.

“This decision about Afghanistan is not only about Afghanistan, and it’s about ending an era of major military operations to make the other countries,” the president said.

The Taliban, ousted from power by the U.S. right after the 9/11 attacks, now control nearly all the country.

The departure of U.S. forces came at the end of a colossal 17-day humanitarian evacuation f 123,000 people wanting to flee Taliban rule; among them were 6,000 U.S. citizens.

Biden praised the service members for giving their lives as heroes and was grateful for all the members of the military, the diplomatic corps, and the intelligence community risking their safety for what he called a mission of mercy.

The president and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Dover Air Force Base to meet privately with the families of the fallen before observing the dignified transfer of American flag-draped caskets from a C-17 military cargo plane to a vehicle on Sunday.

“We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid, but we should never forget,” the president said on Tuesday.

Though Biden said he was taking full responsibility for the decision to withdraw by August 31, he pushed back against critics that say the White House was unprepared for the chaos that ensued as American forces exit and the Taliban seized Afghanistan very rapidly.

The president said he tasked his national security team to prepare for every eventuality, which includes a swift Taliban takeover, and blamed the Afghan government for the country’s rapid collapse.

“Let me be clear, leaving on August 31 is not because of an arbitrary deadline. It was created to save American lives,” the president added.

“It was time to end this war, I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” Biden said.

In his Tuesday address, Biden said that “90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave.” He said the U.S. will hold the Taliban accountable for guaranteeing safe passage to anyone who still wants to leave the country.

“For the remaining Americans, there is not any deadline. We remain committed to getting them out if they are willing,” the president said.

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