President Joe Biden has announced the end of the US military mission in Afghanistan will occur on the 31st of August this year, just shy of the 20-year anniversary since the start of the war, after the 9/11 attacks.
He made the announcement during a speech at the White House on Thursday, vowing that the US will continue ‘“o speak out for the rights of women and girls” in the region, whilst allowing the country to rebuild without US influence.
However, critics of the withdrawal have stated that it comes at a time when the Taliban have been making gains in the region.
The President took time to reflect on the longest-running war in American history, a war that has claimed the lives of close to 2,500 Americans, alongside 21,000 soldiers suffering wounds.
He stated that the US invasion of Afghanistan has achieved its mission of bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice, after he conducted the deadliest terrorist attack in US history on September 11th, 2001, that resulted in the deaths of over 3,000 Americans.
Biden stated that he would not send “another generation of Americans” into war without a reasonable expectation, whilst claiming that the US “cannot remain tethered” to the policies that responded to a world of 20 years ago.
He continued by stating that the US will carry on providing “civilian and humanitarian aid” to the nation, before calling on other nations in the region to “step up.”
The President then calmed fears that the Taliban could regain control in the country, stating that government has a “far larger and superior military.”
Biden, and Vice-President Kamala Harris, were briefed on Thursday morning regarding the withdrawal before the President made his announcement later in the day.
He stated that his military advisors strongly recommended withdrawing troops swiftly after the announcement was made, and so far, there have been zero casualties in the region since the withdrawal order was made.
Trump announced the same move and was criticized
The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has been met with mixed reactions, more positive than negative, with support for the move coming along from both parties.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, around 62% of Americans support the move, with numerous Democratic allies publicly supporting the move.
Biden’s predecessor, President Donald Trump, gave the green light to withdraw troops from both Afghanistan and Syria during his term in office, yet this was met with a negative reaction from the Democrat Party.
Republican opposition to the move has been led by Senator Lindsay Graham, who was a strong supporter of US involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
She stated that the President’s plan is a “disaster in the making,” claiming this will lead to a re-emergence of Al Qaeda and Islamic State in the region.
Jane Horton, who is the widow of the late Army Specialist Christopher Horton who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011, stated that she felt mixed feelings about the President’s announcement. She stated that, while she was glad that the war was finally ending for Americans and the families she has been supporting, she expressed her sadness that it will continue for the people of Afghanistan.
She questioned what this move would do for the legacy of her late husband.
Many military and regional experts believe that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is “inevitable,” yet the Ministry of Defence for the nation believes they have the capability to retake fallen areas that the US will be withdrawing from.