U.S. President Joe Biden has declared it was time “to end America’s longest war” as he announced that all US and Nato troops would return home from Afghanistan by 9/11.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the 9/11 attacks by jihadist organization al-Qaida, with other NATO countries also deploying military forces to the South Asian country.
Addressing the world from the White House, Biden said 2,500 US troops plus a further 7,000 from “Nato allies” including 750 from the UK would gradually leave the country starting on 1 May. “The plan has long been in together, out together,” he added.
“We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal and expecting a different result,” Biden said in a late afternoon speech.
Biden said he was the fourth president to preside over the US-led fight against the Taliban. “I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth,” he said, and added he had told his predecessor, George Bush, who first ordered troops into the country in the aftermath of the terror attack on the Twin Towers, of his decision on Tuesday.
NATO allies lso agreed to wind down their operations in Afghanistan, after President Joe Biden’s administration announced all US troops would leave the country by September 11.
“NATO allies have decided to start withdrawing Resolute Support forces by May 1, in an orderly, coordinated and deliberate way,” NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg announced during a summit in Brussels. “We will continue to stand with Afghanistan, this marks a new chapter in our relationship.”
“We went into Afghanistan together, we have adjusted our posture together and we are united in leaving together,” Stoltenberg said.
“The US will never forget the solidarity our NATO allies have shown every step of the way,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said after Stoltenberg’s comments.