Speed Reads

'speed is safety'

Biden says the U.S. 'did what we went to do' in Afghanistan

President Biden said in a speech Thursday that the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on Aug. 31, The Associated Press reports, bringing an end to a near 20-year war with no "mission accomplished" moment.

Biden noted that, in regards to troops' withdrawal, "speed is safety" and that the United States "did what we went to do in Afghanistan: get the terrorists who attacked us on [September 11] and deliver justice to Osama bin Laden." He added: "We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build."

"I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan, with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome," said the president, maintaining his position that "just one more year" of fighting in Afghanistan is a "recipe for being there indefinitely."

And when asked if he felt the "last two decades in Afghanistan" were worth it, Biden said the "job had been over for some time" — the U.S. had long accomplished its goals of bringing "Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell" and eliminating al Qaeda's capacity to attack America. "That's why I believe that this is the right decision and, quite frankly, overdue."

Biden also defended his trust in the Afghan military to defend the government from the Taliban on its own, AP notes, even as the militant group is gaining ground in real time. "It's up to the people of Afghanistan to decide on what government they want. Not us to impose the government on them. No country's ever been able to do that."