Afghanistan: Biden defends US withdrawal, vows to deal with ISIS-K

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President Joe Biden has stood by his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan even after the Taliban takeover
US President Joe Biden

United States President Joe Biden, has defended his decision to withdraw all US troops and diplomats from Afghanistan.

The US president on Tuesday said that the only options were to either withdraw from the country or escalate tensions with the Taliban.

Biden made the speech after the US military completed its withdrawal from the country on Monday night.

The evacuations were not absolutely successful, as over 200 American citizens were said to have been stranded, unable to reach the airport.

Deal of the day

The Biden administration has said they will continue to try to help those still looking to leave.

The last US soldier to leave Afghanistan, Maj Gen Christopher T. Donahue

“That was the choice: between leaving or escalating. I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” Biden said.

Biden said the decision to end the US role in Afghanistan was also about ending an era of military operations aimed at rebuilding other countries.

Ending the last military intervention to arise from the 9/11 attacks was one of Joe Biden’s biggest campaign promises coming into office, and the idea was overwhelmingly popular.

Following more than 2,400 US military deaths, thousands wounded and an estimated $2.3 trillion spent on an endeavour that began in victory over the Taliban only to end with those same insurgents sweeping back to power, Americans had lost interest in remaining entrenched in a “forever war” in Afghanistan.

Soldier monitors evacuation in Afghanistan
Soldier monitors evacuation in Afghanistan

The departure on Monday culminated in a solitary airplane lifting off at one minute to midnight local time in Kabul with the last troops and diplomats being brought home.

‘Afghanistan was never a war Biden wanted’

After two weeks of air lifts that saw more than 120,000 people – most of them Afghan allies – evacuated, the Pentagon made the final announcement that US military operations had ended late on Monday.

But the titanic effort was marred by an August 26 suicide bombing that killed more than 160 Afghans and 13 US service members.

Biden has stern words Tuesday for the group behind the bombing, Isis-Khorasan.

A man walking away bloodied after the explosion at the Baron Gate in Kabul, Afghanistan IS-K
A man walking away bloodied after the explosion at the Baron Gate in Kabul, Afghanistan

“We all maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries,” Biden said.

“And to ISIS-K: We are not done with you yet,” he said, using another acronym for the Afghan offshoot of the Islamic State jihadist group.

While leaving Afghanistan was certainly popular, the chaos of the exit shocked many Americans.

Taliban have taken over more than 85% of Afghanistan as US withdrawal nears completion
Taliban have complete control of Afghanistan

It began with the sudden collapse of the US-installed Afghan military, allowing the Taliban to fan out across the country virtually unimpeded.