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‘We must move forward,’ Biden stands by decision to withdraw from Afghanistan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House on August 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

US President Joe Biden has stood by his decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan, claiming that “we must move forward from here,” after Taliban takes over the country.

In remarks from the East Room of the White House, the Democratic president pointed the finger at Afghan leaders and security forces for the collapse of the government.

“I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference. Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here,” Biden said. “I am the president of the United States of America and the buck stops with me.”

'Biden's decisions created humanitarian crisis'

Biden’s speech marked his first public comments since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan and deposed the government in Kabul.

Biden also indicated that he had no choice but to act in line with the deal former President Donald Trump clinched with Taliban.

“The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season,” Biden said. “There would be no ceasefire after May 1.”

The US president has come under unprecedented pressure over withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, marking a clear defeat for American forces in the longest war in history.

Many top figures in GOP have lambasted the Democratic leader over the swift takeover of the government in Kabul.

“Biden did a lot of finger-pointing but it was his indefensible decisions and failure to prepare that have created the security and humanitarian crisis currently unfolding,” House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Mike Rogers said in a statement after Biden’s speech. “Why was there never a plan? Why is there still not a plan?”

The US has already deployed 6,000 troops to assist with the process of evacuations, which has led to chaos at the Kabul airport.

“I stand squarely behind my decision… After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces,” the US president said. “I always promised the American people I will be straight with you. The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”

The withdrawal of foreign forces is the end of one and the beginning of a new struggle for the Afghans, some of whom fear the dominance of extremism previously promoted by Taliban.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror.

Since former President George W. Bush launched the war in 2001, all American leaders have announced a soon-to-happen full withdrawal.


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