On the ground, the Taliban have taken control of a district in western Afghanistan that includes a major border crossing with Iran

US announces full troop withdrawal by 31 August

AFP/ SAUL LOEB - US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC

"We did not go to Afghanistan to build a nation.  And it is the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country", told US President Joe Biden, emphasising his intention to withdraw US troops from the Central Asian country. Biden announced last April that all US troops would be out of Afghanistan by 11 September, the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers that triggered the invasion of Afghanistan.

In the face of the Taliban's rapid advance, which in the last week alone has taken control of at least 28 districts in eight Afghan provinces, the US president is unwilling to back down from his decision. "The United States did what it was going to do in Afghanistan: catch the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and bring Osama bin Laden to justice," Biden said during a speech at the White House, adding that once "those objectives have been achieved" the US military presence no longer makes sense.

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"Our military mission in Afghanistan will end on 31 August," confirmed Joe Biden. The withdrawal of US military troops has been taking place gradually since last April, but in recent weeks the process has been accelerating. A week ago, the US withdrew from the Bagram area base, which has long been the scene of US military operations in the country, bringing an end to America's longest war. The Pentagon said the withdrawal of US forces was 90% complete.

Biden also called on other countries in the region to take a more active role in Afghanistan in order to reach "a peaceful solution" and said that the US "will work with them". In the same vein, the US President stressed that "the US military mission in Afghanistan continues until the end of August" and that after its complete withdrawal "America's support for the people of Afghanistan will endure". Biden promised that the US would continue to provide civilian and humanitarian assistance, including the defence of the rights of women and girls.


Along the same lines, he expressed his intention to maintain the diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, for which he will have at least 650 soldiers who will be responsible for the security of the US embassy in Kabul. He explained that they are still negotiating "closely with our international partners to continue to secure the international airport". Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport is vital to the continuation of diplomatic efforts and the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Central Asian country.

Last May, during the last NATO meeting, Turkey offered to administer Kabul airport in view of the announcement of the withdrawal of US troops and thus the departure of NATO troops. The US, which was initially reluctant to the idea, finally accepted Turkey's proposal and Biden himself pledged to support Ankara economically and militarily. However, the Taliban have demanded that Ankara withdraw along with other NATO troops, and have warned Erdogan not to make a "big mistake".


The withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan has provoked much criticism, especially in view of the rapid Taliban advance following the announcement of the US army's departure from the country. Biden, during his speech, explained that those who claim that attacks against US targets in Afghanistan have been reduced are mistaken. In the words of Joe Biden, "the peace agreement with the Taliban, which the previous administration reached, was the reason why the Taliban had ceased major attacks on US forces" and he claims that if they do not withdraw on schedule, attacks on US targets will resume.

One of the big questions was what was going to happen to all those Afghan civilians who had collaborated with international troops, including interpreters and translators, and who were at risk with the withdrawal of US forces and other countries. On this issue, Biden pointed out that "the processing time for Special Immigration Visas to bring them to the United States has been dramatically accelerated".  With this speech, Joe Biden puts an end to the longest war in the United States that has cost the US Administration a trillion dollars and the death of 2,448 Americans.

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A total withdrawal of international troops contrasts with the Taliban advance, which during its latest offensive has seized control of a district in western Afghanistan that includes an important border crossing with Iran. In the last week, the Taliban have overrun border areas with five countries: Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, China, and Pakistan. Afghanistan threatens another bloody civil war as international troops leave the Central Asian country claiming to have "accomplished their objectives".