US Military Mission in Afghanistan to End on Aug 31

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President Biden has assured his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, that the US will continue to provide civilian and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan even after the pull out, reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden on Thursday confirmed that the US military drawdown in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31.

Talking about US drawdown efforts in Afghanistan, Biden in a press briefing said, “When I announced drawdown in April, I said we would be out by September, and we are on track to meet that target. Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31. The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops till they depart.”

“Our military commanders advised that once I made the decision to end the war. We needed to move swiftly, to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. And in this context, speed is safety and thanks to the way in which we have managed. Our drawdown, no one, no one US Forces have been lost. Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with an increased risk of safety to our personnel,” added Biden.

Earlier, Biden has set a deadline of September 11 for the final pullout of the few remaining troops from Afghanistan. Talking about the early exit from Afghanistan, he stressed, “To me, these risks were unacceptable. There was never any doubt that our military performed this task efficiently and with the highest level of professionalism. That’s what they do and the same is true of our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and partners who have supported.”

Further, he said that the US will retain some authority in Afghanistan. “I want to clear, the US military in Afghanistan continues through the end of August. We retain personnel and capacities in the country. We maintain some authority, the same authority, under which we have been operating for some time.”

Regarding the objectives of the war in Afghanistan, he stated, “As I said in April, the US did what we went to do in Afghanistan, to get the terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11 and deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden and to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base in which attacks could be continued against the US.”

“We achieved those objectives. That’s why we went,” stressed Biden.

Assistance to continue

President Biden has assured his Afghan counterpart, Ashraf Ghani, that the US will continue to provide civilian and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan even after the American military drawdown by August 31.

“In our meeting, I also assured President Ashraf Ghani that US support for the people of Afghanistan will endure. We will continue to provide civilian and humanitarian assistance including speaking out for the rights of women and girls,” said Biden.

He also said that the US did not go to Afghanistan for nation-building. “It’s the rights and responsibilities of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”

Talking about the American assistance to Afghanistan in the backdrop of its military drawdown by August 31, Biden said, “Together with our NATO allies and partners we have trained and equipped nearly 300, 000 current serving members of the military – Afghan National Security Forces. Hundreds of that security forces trained over the last two decades. We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools.”

He also emphasized the modern military tools that have been provided to Afghanistan to fight back the terrorists.

“Let me emphasize, all the tools, training, equipment of any modern military. We provided advanced weaponry and we’re going to continue to provide funding and equipment and we will ensure, we have the capacity to maintain their Air Force, but most critically as I stressed in my meetings just two weeks ago, Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future that the Afghan people want and they deserve.”

Meanwhile, he said that the US will be maintaining a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and reiterated that they want Afghans to come out of senseless violence.

“I intend to maintain our diplomatic presence in Afghanistan and we’re coordinating closely with our international partners in order to continue to secure the International Airport and we’re going to engage in a determined diplomacy to pursue peace and Peace Agreement that will end this senseless violence.”

He further said, “I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and our Special Representative for Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to work vigorously with the parties in Afghanistan as well as regional and international stakeholders to support a negotiated solution.”

“To be clear, to clear countries in the region have a role to play in supporting a peaceful settlement. We’ll work with them and they should help step up their efforts as well,” he added.

This comes amid a surge in violence in Afghanistan. The Taliban has intensified its offensive against the government after foreign forces have started withdrawing from the war-torn country.

The Taliban has also taken control of several districts across the country and US intelligence assessments have suggested the country’s civilian government could fall to the terror group within months of US forces withdrawing completely. (ANI)

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