WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden on Tuesday (local time) warned the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISIS-K), the group which killed 13 US troops in a suicide bombing at Kabul airport, and said that the US is not done with the terrorist group.
“To ISIS-K we are not done with you yet,” Biden said, adding that “to those who wish America harm, we will hunt you down and you will pay the ultimate price.” Biden’s address to the nation comes a day after the last American military planes left the country, concluding the nation’s longest war nearly 20 years after it began.
Biden, in defending a decision that has drawn scrutiny for its execution, said the real decision in Afghanistan was “between leaving and escalating,” framing his choice to withdraw troops as the only option aside from surging more forces to the country.
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” he said.
The United States forces left Afghanistan on Tuesday morning, marking the end of a chaotic and messy exit from America’s longest war.
Biden also said this is a new world, the terror threat has metastasized across the world, adding, “the threat from terrorism continues, but it’s changed. Our strategy needs to change too.”
“I know that the threat from terrorism continues in is pernicious and evil nature, but it has changed, expanded to other countries. Our strategy has to change too. We will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries. We just don’t need to fight a ground war to do it,” he said.
Following the end of the United States’ war in Afghanistan, Biden referred to the American lives lost during the conflict’s final days.
Noting that the success of the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage” of the US military and diplomats, Biden said that the 13 fallen soldiers who perished as part of the operation would not be forgotten.
“Twenty service members were wounded in the service of this mission. Thirteen heroes gave their lives,” Biden said adding that “We owe them and their families a debt of gratitude we can never repay, but we should never, ever, ever forget.”
Biden said American service members performed their duty despite a dangerous and ultimately deadly environment in the war-torn country.
“Risking their lives, not for professional gains but to serve others,” Biden said of US’s troops, noting that the work of evacuating Americans and Afghan partners was not “a mission of war” but rather “a mission of mercy.”
The President contended that the US military was prepared to deal with all those events, even though he himself has admitted that the US was caught off-guard by the quick collapse of the Afghan army. “This is the way the mission was designed. It was designed to operate under severe stress and attack, and that’s what it did,” Biden said.
Blames Afghan army for Trump’s ‘humiliating’ withdrawal
President Joe Biden rejected criticism of a deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, leaving 100 to 200 Afghans, including Americans, in Kabul.
In a televised address from the White House State Dining Room, Biden criticized the ousted Afghan government’s incompetence against the Taliban’s rapid progress, which has led to haste and humiliation for the United States and its NATO allies, Dawn reported . Forced to take a humiliating path and also criticized the role of former US President Donald Trump.
Joe Biden said the agreement reached by Donald Trump “allowed the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including some Taliban warlords who have just taken control.”
“When I took office, the Taliban were in their strongest military position since 2001, controlling almost half of the country,” he said.
Officials believe there are between 100 and 200 Americans in Afghanistan, some of whom intend to leave the country, most of whom have dual citizenship and have lived there for a long time, Biden said. He added that the United States was committed to expelling them.
Many lawmakers have called on Biden to extend the August 31 deadline to allow more Americans and Afghans to evacuate, but the president has said it is not a “discretionary deadline” but a “life-saving deadline.” There is a deadline.
“I take responsibility for the decision, now some say that we should have started a massive withdrawal and whether it could not have been done more systematically, I respectfully disagree,” Biden said.
He explained that even if the evacuation had started in June or July, “there would still be a rush at the airport” because people wanted to get out.