US President, Joe Biden, has said he does not regret his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan.
He acknowledged that Afghanistan’s collapse to the Taliban came much sooner than U.S. officials had anticipated but he blamed Afghanistan’s elected leaders and military for not putting up more of a fight against the Taliban.
Biden said on Monday, August 16, from the White House: “I stand squarely behind my decision. The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
Biden blamed his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, arguing that his administration’s hands were tied by the plan Trump set in motion last year.
Back in 2020, Trump, who was President at the time, signed a conditional peace agreement with the Taliban in Afghanistan that could see the steady withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and which would end America’s longest running war.
Based on Trump’s agreement with the Taliban in 2020, the insurgents must “not allow any of its members, other individuals or grouos, including al-Qa’ida, to use the soil of Aghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.”
Biden suggested former President Donald Trump shouldered some of the blame after cutting a deal with the Taliban in 2019 that imposed a May 1, 2021, deadline on U.S. Forces’ departure.
Biden further stated that he will not pass on the conflict to a fifth U.S. president and that the U.S. would no longer fight a war that is “not in our national security interest.”
“I am President of the United States of America and the buck stops with me. I’m deeply saddened by the facts we now face. But I do not regret my decision to end America’s war fighting in Afghanistan,” he said.
Biden added: “I cannot and will not ask our troops to fight on endlessly in another country’s civil war, taking casualties, suffering life shattering injuries, leaving families broken by grief and loss..”This is not in our national security interest. It is not what the American people want. It is not what our troops who have sacrificed so much over the past two decades deserve.”
Biden continued: “I know my decision will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president of the United States, yet another one, a fifth one.”
Biden also repeatedly excoriated Afghanistan’s elected leaders and military for not putting up more of a fight against the Taliban. He said that they in essence squandered the time and money America spent to build up its security forces.
The US President said: “We gave them every tool they could need. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. [What] we could not provide them, was the will to fight for that future.”
Biden said the nation’s rapid descent into Taliban rule serves as “proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan.”
He added: “What’s happening now could just as easily happen five years ago or 15 years in the future.”
Watch him speak in the video below.