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Biden, in excerpts of a
speech to the nation he
plans later Wednesday,
says the U.S. cannot
continue to pour resources
into an intractable war and
expect different results.

 

President Joe Biden
says the Sept. 11 attacks
“cannot explain” why
U.S. forces should remain
in Afghanistan 20 years
later and that “it is time for
American troops to come
home” from the country’s
longest war.

 

Biden, in excerpts of a
speech to the nation he
plans later Wednesday, says
the U.S. cannot continue
to pour resources into an
intractable war and expect
different results. The White
House released the excerpts
before the afternoon
address when he intends to
detail his timeline for a U.S.
troop withdrawal.

 

His plan is to pull out all
the American forces —
numbering 2,500 now — by
this Sept. 11, according
to U.S. officials, marking
the 20th anniversary of
the deadliest terrorist
attacks against America,
which were coordinated
from Afghanistan. The
drawdown would begin by
May 1, defying the deadline
for full withdrawal under
a peace agreement the
Trump administration
reached with the Taliban
last year.

 

“We cannot continue the
cycle of extending or
expanding our military
presence in Afghanistan
hoping to create the
ideal conditions for our
withdrawal, expecting
a different result,” Biden
says in the speech
excerpts. “I am now
the fourth American
president to preside
over an American troop
presence in Afghanistan.
Two Republicans. Two
Democrats. I will not pass
this responsibility to a fifth.”

 

While Biden’s decision
keeps U.S. forces in
Afghanistan four months
longer than initially
planned, it sets a firm end
to two decades of war that

 

 

 

 

killed more than 2,200 U.S.
troops, wounded 20,000, and
cost as much as $1 trillion.

 

Biden says he consulted
with allies, military leaders,
lawmakers and Vice President
Kamala Harris to help make his
decision to withdraw all U.S.
troops by Sept. 11, two decades
after the deadliest attack on
American soil.

 

He is emphasizing that his
administration will continue to
support peace talks between
the Afghan government and the
Taliban and assist international
efforts to train the Afghan
military.

 

“It is time to end America’s
longest war,” Biden says. “It is
time for American troops to
come home.”

 

He also is trying to make the
case that it is time to pay more
attention to greater geopolitical
challenges. In the early part
of his presidency, Biden
has spotlighted the growing
economic competition with
China and malign actions by
Russia targeting the United
States.

 

“Rather than return to war with
the Taliban, we have to focus
on the challenges that will
determine our standing and
reach today and into the years to
come,” Biden says, according to
the excerpts.

 

After his speech, Biden intends
to visit Section 60 of Arlington
National Cemetery to honor the
sacrifice of those who died in
recent American conflicts.

 

A senior administration official
said the September withdrawal
date was an absolute deadline
that won’t be affected by security
conditions in Afghanistan.

 

The conflict largely crippled
al-Qaida and led to the death of
Osama bin Laden, the architect
of the Sept. 11 attacks. But an
American withdrawal also
risks many of the gains made
in democracy, women’s rights
and governance, while ensuring
that the Taliban, who provided
al-Qaida’s haven, remain strong
and in control of large swaths of
the country.

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