“I’ve concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war,” Biden said. “It’s time for our troops to come home.”
Biden noted that he inherited a diplomatic agreement made by Donald Trump’s administration with the Taliban that all U.S. forces would be out by May 1. Biden said that instead, the withdrawal would begin on that date and would “not conduct a hasty rush to the exit.”
“We will not take our eyes off the terrorist threat,” Biden said, vowing to reorganize counterterrorism capabilities to prevent the reemergence of terrorism.
Biden said that he spoke on Tuesday with former President George W. Bush about his decision. “While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we are absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage and integrity of the women and men in the United States armed forces who served,” Biden said.
He also said that the U.S. would continue to support the Afghan government.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” Biden said. “That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.”
His announcement was met with opposition from some lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who warned of the return of al Qaeda and ISIS.
“Apparently we’re to help our adversaries ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift-wrapping the country and handing it back to them,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.