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Good Afternoon I Want To Speak Today To The
unfolding situation in Afghanistan. The developments that have taken place in the last week and the steps we’re taking to address the rapidly evolving events. My National security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and moving quickly to execute the plans. We had put in place to respond to every constituency, including and contingency including the rapid collapse We’re Seeing now I’ll speak more in a moment about the specific steps. We’re taking but I want to remind everyone how we got here and what America‘s interests are in Afghanistan.
We Went To Afghanistan Almost 20 Years Ago
with clear goals get those who attacked us on September 11 2001 and make sure Al-Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again We did that we severely. Degraded Al-qaeda in Afghanistan. We never gave up the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and we got him that was a decade ago. Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation-building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified centralized democracy.
Our Only Vital National Interest In Afghanistan
remains today. What has always been preventing a terrorist attack on America’s Homeland. I’ve argued for many years that our mission should be narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation-building that’s why I opposed the surge when it was proposed in 2009 when I was vice president and that’s why as president I’m Adamant we focus on the threats we face today in 2021, not yesterday’s threats today the terrorist threat has metastasized well beyond Afghanistan. Al-shabaab in Somalia. Al–qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.
Al-Nusra In Syria Isis Attempting To
create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Africa and Asia. These threats warrant our attention and our resources. We conduct effective counterterrorism missions against terrorist groups in multiple countries where we don’t have permanent military presence if necessary, We’ll do the same In Afghanistan. We’ve developed counterterrorism over the horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the direct threats to the United States in the region and act quickly and decisively if needed.
When I Came Into Office, I Inherited A
deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban under his agreement. U. s forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1 2021, just a little over three months after I took office. U. s forces had already drawn down during the trump administration from roughly 15 500 American forces to 2 500 troops in country, and the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001 the choice I had to make.
As Your President Was Either To
follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban In the middle of the spring fighting season. There would have been no ceasefire after May 1. . There was no agreement protecting our forces. After May 1.
There was no status quo of stability without American casualties After May 1. . There was only a whole reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan lurching into the third decade of conflict. I stand squarely behind my decision.
After 20 Years Ive Learned The
hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.s forces that’s why we’re still there. We were clear-eyed about the risk we planned for every contingency, but I always promised the American people that i. be straight with you the truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated so what’s happened Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed sometime without trying to fight if anything.
The Developments Of The Past Week Reinforced That
ending U.s military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision. American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force with some 300 000 strong incredibly well equipped a force larger in size than the militaries of many of our Nato allies.
We Gave Them Every Tool They Could
need. We paid their salaries provided for the maintenance of their air force. Something that Taliban doesn’t have Taliban does not have an. Air force we provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future.
We Could Not Provide Them Was The Will
to fight for that future. There’s some very brave and capable Afghan special forces units and soldiers, but if Afghanistan is unable to mount any real resistance to the Taliban. Now there is no chance that one year, one more year, five more years or 20 more years U. s military boots on the ground would have made any difference here’s what I believe to my core it is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not. The political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country.
When The Chips Were Down, They Would
never have done so while U.s troops remained in Afghanistan. Bearing the brunt of the fighting for them and our true strategic competitors. China and Russia would love nothing more than the United States to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention and destabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely. When I hosted President Ghani and Chairman Abdullah at the White House in June and again.
When I Spoke By Phone To Gani
In July, we had very frank conversations. We talked about how Afghanistan should prepare to fight their civil wars. After the U. s military departed to clean up the corruption in government, so the government could function for the Afghan people. We talked extensively about the need for Afghan leaders to unite politically they fail to do any of that I also urge them to engage in diplomacy to seek a political settlement with the Taliban.
This Advice Was Flatly Refused.
Mr. Ghani insisted the Afghan forces would fight. But obviously he was wrong so I’m left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay how many more generations of America,’s, daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghans, Afghanistan’s Civil war When Afghan troops will not how many more lives American lives is it worth. How many endless rows of headstones is Arlington National Cemetery.
Im Clear On My Answer.
I will not repeat the mistakes. We’ve made in the past mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U. s forces Those are the mistakes. We cannot continue to repeat because we have significant vital interest in the world that we cannot afford to ignore.
want to acknowledge how painful this is to so many of us The scenes were seen in Afghanistan. They’re gut-wrenching particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers for anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people for those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan and for Americans have fought and served in the country serve our country in Afghanistan. This is deeply deeply personal it is for me as well. I’ve worked on these issues as long as anyone.
Ive Been Throughout Afghanistan During This War.
I Spent Time With Our Troops And I
came to understand firsthand what was and was not possible in Afghanistan so now we’re focused on. Is possible we will continue to support the Afghan people. We will lead with our diplomacy, our international influence and our humanitarian aid. We’ll continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability. We’ll continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people of women and girls just as we speak out all over the world.
Ive Been Clear The Human Rights Must
be the center of our foreign policy. Not the periphery, but the way to do it is not through endless military deployments. It’s with our diplomacy our economic tools and rallying the world to join us Let me lay out the current mission in Afghanistan. I was asked to authorize and I did 6 000 U. s troops to deploy to Afghanistan for the purpose of assisting the departure of U.
S And Allied Civilian Personnel From Afghanistan And To
evacuate our. Afghan allies and vulnerable Afghans to safety outside of Afghanistan. Our troops are working to secure the airfield and ensure continued operation of both the civilian and military flights. We’re taking over air traffic control. We have safely shut down our embassy and transferred our diplomats.
Our Diplomatic Presence Is Now Consolidated At The
airport as well. Over the coming days. We intend to transport out thousands of American citizens who’ve been living and working in Afghanistan. We’ll also continue to support the safe departure of civilian personnel. The civilian personnel of our allies who are still serving in Afghanistan Operation Allies Refugee which I announced back in July has already moved 2 000 Afghans were eligible for special immigration visas and their families to the United States.
In The Coming Days.
The U. s military will provide assistance to move to move more siv-eligible Afghans and their families out. of Afghanistan we’re also expanding refugee access to cover other vulnerable Afghans who worked for our embassy. U.
S, Non–Government Agencies Or U.
s, non–governmental organizations and Afghans who otherwise are at great risk in U. s news agencies. I know there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghans civilians sooner part of the answer that some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier still hopeful for their country and part of it. Because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing the mass exodus to avoid triggering as they said a crisis of confidence.
American Troops Are Performing This Mission As
professionally and as effectively as they always do, but it is not without risks as we carry out this departure. We have made it clear to the Taliban if they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation. The U. s presence will be swift and the response will be swift and forceful. We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary.
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Our Current Military Mission.
We shortened time limited scope and focused in its objectives get our people and our allies safely as quickly as possible and once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed the events we’re seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable united secure Afghanistan as known in history as the graveyard of empires. What’s happening now could just as easily happen five years ago or 15 years in the future, We have to be honest. Our mission in Afghanistan is taking many missteps made many missteps over the past two decades. I’m, now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan.
Two Democrats And Two Republicans.
I will not pass this responsibly on responsibility onto a fifth president. I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference, nor will I shrink from.
President Obama addressed the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and moving quickly to execute the plans . The terrorist threat has metastasized well beyond Afghanistan, including Al-shabaab in Somalia and Al-nusra in Syria Isis attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq and Africa and Asia. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today. Our mission should be narrowly focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nation-building. That’s why I opposed the surge when it was proposed in 2009 when I was vice president and that’s why as president I’m Adamant we focus on the threats we face today in 2021, not yesterday’s threats today the terrorist threats today . I’ll speak more in a moment about the specific steps we’re taking but I want to remind everyone how we got here and what America’s interests are in Afghanistan.& Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation- Building a unified centralized democracy is in Afghanistan, not nation-building. It was…. Click here to read more and watch the full video