President Biden is not taking a victory shot at the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and instead the White House offered a sober reality that America’s longest war simply cannot be won militarily.
“We are not going to have a mission accomplished moment in this regard,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, referring to the premature “Mission Accomplished” banner that served as the backdrop for former President George W. Bush. Bush’s speech in the 2003 aircraft carrier. “It’s a 20-year war that has not been won militarily.”
Biden spoke to the nation on Thursday about his decision to remove US troops from Afghanistan despite the growing threat from the Taliban. During a White House news briefing ahead of his remarks, Psaki said that while there may be disadvantages to the decision, Biden would not sacrifice more lives and taxes on a war that has been going on for too long.
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“He will not ask another generation of children to go and serve in Afghanistan in a war that he does not feel can be won militarily,” Psaki said. “It’s the core driver of his decision here.”
As the Taliban escalation took place in Afghanistan, with US troops already 90% gone, the White House sought to focus on some of the positive results of the last 20 years – such as finding and killing Osama bin Laden and ensuring that Afghanistan cannot be used as a home base for terrorist attacks on the United States and its allies.
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“We did exactly what we intended to do … however, in our opinion there is no benefit in continuing to fight this war militarily,” Psaki said.
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The war in Afghanistan started after the deadly September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and Biden has committed to removing almost all US troops from the country on September 11, 2021.