Biden blasted for ‘personal’ decision to pull US troops from Afghanistan – ‘Big mistake’

Afghanistan: Colonel discusses Biden’s announcement

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Last week, the US President confirmed that he will withdraw US troops from the “forever war” in Afghanistan by September 11 – the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Mr Biden said the attacks in 2001, which were coordinated from Afghanistan, “cannot explain” why US forces should still be there today.

He added: “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.

“I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

The attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, often referred to as 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist acts by the extremist group al-Qaeda against the US.

The incidents resulted in nearly three thousand fatalities and have been called the deadliest terrorist attack in human history.

Writing for The Times, William Hague, former Foreign Secretary under David Cameron, criticised Mr Biden’s decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan as “his first big mistake”.

He believes the President’s move “is very much his personal decision”.

Mr Hague argues the “most worrying” of Mr Biden’s reasons to withdraw troops was his argument that “what happened twenty years ago cannot explain why we remain there in 2021”.

The former Foreign Secretary wrote: “It is the belief that, as this is America’s longest war, it must come to a defined end, given that the main objective of destroying al-Qaeda bases has been achieved and patience in any case has been exhausted.

“The reality is, however, that twenty years is long enough to have changed Afghan society but not long enough to expect it to survive on its own.”

Mr Hague described how Afghanistan is much more of an “urban … and in some ways liberal country”.

However, he warned “that means that if it collapses into civil war, the human consequences, the flows of refugees, the justified sense of moral betrayal by the West will be all the greater than in the past.”

Mr Hague claimed that 20 years “has been long enough for us to learn”.

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He wrote: “We have learnt that leaving behind a much smaller western force to back up a strengthened Afghan army makes a big difference.

“With few casualties, Nato forces from 2017-19, including our own from Britain, helped keep the Taliban under pressure and brought them to the negotiating table.

“As soon as that pressure was reduced last year, an autumn offensive brought them to the gates of Kandahar, the country’s second city.”

He also warned that al-Qaeda “has not given up returning” to Afghanistan.

Mr Biden’s move to withdraw the US troops could mark his most significant foreign policy decision since taking office in January.

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