United States President Joe Biden has said that winding up the American mission in Afghanistan and flying out on August 31 was not due to an arbitrary deadline, but rather it was designed to save American lives.

Addressing the nation on the end of America's war in Afghanistan, Biden said that the choice before his administration was between leaving or escalating the situation.

Biden said he was not going to extend, what he termed as, either a forever war and a forever exit. 

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The US President further said that the decision to end the military airlift operations at Kabul airport was based on the unanimous recommendation of his civilian and military advisors which include the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all the service chiefs, and the commanders in the field.

Disagreeing with those who suggested that the evacuations could have been done in a more orderly manner, Biden stated that there was no evacuation from "the end of a war that can be run without the kind of complexities, challenges, and threats we faced."

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Biden lashed out at the previous Donald Trump administration for cutting a deal with the Taliban that forced the United States to start drawing down boots on the ground.

He said that Trump's administration had signed an agreement with the Taliban in which American troops had to leave the country by May 1. Besides, the deal did not require the Taliban to work out a governing arrangement with the Afghan government. However, the dead did authorize releasing 5,000 prisoners, including some of the Taliban's top war commanders who are among those who just took control of Afghanistan.

Biden said that by the time he had assumed office, the Taliban was already controlling or contesting nearly half of the country and was in its strongest military position since 2001. 

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Trump's agreement, Biden said, underlined that if the US administration stuck to May 1 deadline to leave the country, the Taliban would not attack any American forces. 

But if the deadline was not followed, all bets were off, the US President said.

In statements that could meet with backlash later, Biden said that the United States would not have gone to war with Afghanistan in 2001 even though the Taliban controlled the country then if the September 11, 2001 terror attacks were to be staged from Yemen and not  Afghanistan.

Stating that the United States had succeeded in achieving what it set out to do in Afghanistan over a decade ago, Biden said, "We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden and decimated Al Qaeda. Then we stayed for another decade. It was time to end this war."

The US president concluded his remarks stating that he believed that his decision was right, wise and in the best interest of America.

from asianetnews

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