This summer, the U.S. government finally set an official end date for America’s two-decade military misadventure in Afghanistan. After announcing a drawdown of the U.S. troop presence there in April, President Joe Biden declared at a July 8 press briefing that the U.S. “military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31.”
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden admitted what the U.S. should have admitted more than a decade ago: “The United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan,” he said. The goal, he explained, was “to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama bin Laden and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States.” He added that “we achieved those objectives.”
The mission was not, Biden said, “to nation build.” Rather, “it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
This will not be a full disengagement. Biden said the U.S. will continue to give the Afghan government money and weapons, including 37 Black Hawk helicopters. He added that America will still try to play some role in “determined diplomacy to pursue peace” in a nation where turmoil was the norm before and during the U.S. presence.
Biden acknowledged that the Trump administration laid the groundwork for the withdrawal by brokering a deal wit
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