President Joe Biden announced Monday evening he would speak Tuesday afternoon regarding the end of the war in Afghanistan even as the last American troops had already left the country.
The White House released a 524-word statement Monday evening from Biden marking the end of the war, where he committed to an afternoon address to the American people Tuesday afternoon — roughly 24 hours after the last plane left the country.
The president pointed to the Pentagon and his military advisers for the decision to end the war on August 31, the date that he set for withdrawal.
“For now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned,” he said.
He argued that the withdrawal of troops as scheduled was “the best way” to protect the lives of American troops and secure the departure of Americans out of the country.
The president said that Secretary of State Antony Blinken would serve as the coordinator for diplomatic efforts to get more Americans out of the country.
He also set expectations for the Taliban to provide Americans a safe exit from the country.
“The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments,” he said.
Biden called on Americans to join him in “grateful prayer” for the troops, the network of volunteers and veterans who helped get people out of Afghanistan, and to everyone in American to welcome new refugees from the country into the United States.
He also cited a “moment of gratitude” for the 13 service members who were killed in a suicide bombing attack last week as tens-of-thousands of people were evacuated from the airport.