On Wednesday, the President announced that all US and allied troops will leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Biden is the fourth president to inherit the US-led aggression against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Former President George Bush had ordered American troops into the country after the attack on the Twin Towers. Since then, former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump
had pledged to end the “forever war” but neither were able to do so, given the security and military threats the decision would pose. However, President Biden is determined that he will not be distracted from this particular political and foreign policy goal, despite the 50-50 Senate he faces down as President.
Biden’s first months into the presidency have been marked by a need to lift everyday Americans. His foreign policy decisions are also built around the needs of US workers. His decision to withdraw troops has met with some criticism from the military and some Republicans. Critics believe that the decision to end the “forever war” would leave the United States open to attack and leave Kabul vulnerable to the Taliban yet again.
Yet Biden stands firm. He honored the fallen by a visit to Arlington National Cemetery before he made his announcement. The President stood in Section 60, where gravesites of the post-9/11 war run to a total that outnumbers the toll from the al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.
“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021,” the President said.
Biden has decided that there wouldn’t be any hasty rushes to the exit. He is focused on drawing down troops “responsibly, deliberately and safely”. 800,000 US soldiers have served in Afghanistan since 2001, out of which 2,300 have been killed, and 20,000 wounded. 50,000 Afghan civilians have also lost their lives in the conflict.