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Biden: US did not go to Afghanistan to 'nation build'

July 8, 2021

President Joe Biden said a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is not "inevitable," despite the NATO pullout. He also said the US will end the pullout by the end of August.

Joe Biden speaks out US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
Biden has vowed to end America's "longest war" in AfghanistanImage: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

President Joe Biden said Thursday that the US will end its military mission in Afghanistan on August 31 during a White House address. 

Biden had previously vowed to withdraw all US soldiers from the country by September 11.

What did Biden say?

"We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build," Biden said in the speech. "Afghan leaders have to come together and drive forward a future." 

He added that he did not trust the Taliban, but said the US-backed government in Kabul had many more troops to counter their advance.

Biden told reporters that it was not "inevitable" that the Taliban will take over the country following the US pullout. 

The US president also noted that no nation in history has ever united Afghanistan.

"How many more, how many more thousands of American daughters and sons are you willing to risk?" Biden said in remarks aimed at opponents of the pullout. 

"I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan, with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome," the president added.

Majority of UK troops out of Afghanistan: PM Johnson

Biden's remarks come after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday that most UK soldiers have left Afghanistan.

"All British troops assigned to NATO's mission in Afghanistan are now returning home... I will not disclose the timetable of our departure, but I can tell the House that most of our personnel have already left," Johnson told British Members of Parliament (MPs) in a statement.

Other NATO countries, such as Germany, have already completed their pullout from Afghanistan.

Taliban take control of Iran border crossing

The pullout comes as the fundamentalist Taliban group continues to seize more territory from the Afghan government. 

Afghan and Iranian media reported Thursday that the Taliban have seized a key border crossing with Iran. The group previously seized strategic crossings with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Thursday that the Taliban have captured dozens of district centers in Afghanistan. 

Russia says Taliban promised security for diplomats

A Taliban delegation visited Moscow on Thursday, and promised the Kremlin their military gains would not imperil Russia's security.

"We received assurances from the Taliban that they wouldn't violate the borders of Central Asian countries and also their guarantees of security for foreign diplomatic and consular missions in Afghanistan," the Russian Foreign Ministry said about the meeting.

The Taliban reportedly told Russian officials that they would respect human rights "within the framework of Islamic norms and Afghan traditions."

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to fight al-Qaida, the jihadist group that perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The US also unseated the Taliban from power and led a mission with other NATO countries to train Afghan security forces.

wd/dj (Reuters, AP, AFP)