President Joe Biden applauded his own administration for supposedly “ending the forever war in Afghanistan” during remarks to Congress on Wednesday, despite the fact that he acted to prolong the war beyond the May 1 deadline set by predecessor Donald Trump.
“American leadership means ending the forever war in Afghanistan,” Biden declared in his first such speech as president. “We have the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have had a son who served in a warzone.”
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking of nation-building,” Biden affirmed. “We went to Afghanistan to get terrorists, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and we said we would follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell to do it.”
“After 20 years of American valor and sacrifice, it’s time to bring our troops home,” Biden concluded, while leaving open the possibility of further activities there “to suppress future threats to the homeland.”
Biden did not explicitly state that he is personally responsible for the decision to end America’s military engagement in Afghanistan – which began in 2001 following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11 of that year – but implied that his leadership will end that engagement. Biden did not mention the fact that extensive talks featuring both the legitimate Afghan government and the Taliban had taken place under President Trump in 2020, resulting in an agreement in which Trump’s administration would withdraw all American military servicemen from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.
Biden also omitted that, had he not intervened, America’s military presence in that country would have ended on that date. Instead, Biden ordered all U.S. troops out by September 11, 2021, giving the Taliban and other terrorist actors an extra four months to execute attacks on Americans. Biden reportedly consulted George W. Bush, the president who began the war, and former boss Barack Obama prior to extending the “forever war,” but not Trump, who had secured an agreement to end it.
Biden’s prolonging of the Afghan war will also reportedly require the deployment of additional troops between May and September, according to CNN and Afghan news outlets.
Absent from Wednesday’s speech were also the assurances from Biden’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, that America would invest hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars in Afghanistan and remain deeply involved in the country’s affairs following that withdrawal under the Biden plan.
“The reason I’m here … is to demonstrate literally, by our presence, that we have an enduring and ongoing commitment to Afghanistan,” Blinken said at a press conference in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, shortly after Biden announced the extension of the war. “Even when our troops come home, our partnership with Afghanistan will continue.”
Blinken later vowed at least $300 million through USAID, a federal agency, for “additional civilian assistance” to the notoriously corrupt Afghan government.