US President Joe Biden has strongly defended his decision to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, confirming the US military mission will end on Aug. 31, ahead of his original Sept. 11 deadline.
Speaking in the White House East Room on Thursday, Biden said continuing the operation would only lead to further casualties.
“I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome,” Biden said.
“Our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we needed to move swiftly to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. And in this context, speed is safety.”
This comes after the Pentagon has announced earlier the troop withdrawal from the war-torn country was already more than 90% complete.
The American troops left in the middle of the night last week from their main Afghan airbase at Bagram, north of Kabul, without even telling their Afghan military counterparts.
Biden also said that “the likelihood there will be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely."
Since the US started the formal withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in May, Taliban militants have intensified attacks across the country.
According to the Pentagon, they are now in control of more than 100 of Afghanistan’s 419 district centers.
However, Biden said, “The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
He added it is the Afghan people who should decide the fate of their country.
“It’s up to the people of Afghanistan to decide on what government they want, not us to impose the government on them. No country has been able to do that.”
Some Republicans have criticized Biden for the withdrawal, although his predecessor Donald Trump had brokered an agreement with the Taliban to end US involvement in the war.