Biden defends withdrawal from Afghanistan |

Washington / Kabul (dpa) – Following the end of the international military operation in Afghanistan, US President Joe Biden vehemently defended his controversial decision to step down. “It was time to end this war,” Biden said, speaking at the White House.

The alternative would have been to send tens of thousands of additional troops into the country and escalate the conflict. With the withdrawal of the last American soldiers from Kabul airport on Tuesday evening, the international mission in Afghanistan came to an end after nearly 20 years. Now all eyes are on the new reign of militant Islamists Taliban in the country. The presentation of the new management is expected shortly.

America’s longest war

The last US military plane left the airport in Kabul, the Afghan capital, on Tuesday evening. America’s longest war has ended. Biden again stressed that his predecessor Donald Trump had signed a deal with the Taliban and promised the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He himself had the choice of sticking to it or sending tens of thousands of additional American troops to war. Biden stressed that he didn’t want to prolong the war forever. And he didn’t want to prolong the trigger forever. Once again, the US president blamed the former Afghan government and the country’s reluctant security forces for the Taliban takeover.

Biden announced consequences for future military operations. “We have to learn from our mistakes,” he said. “This decision on Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It is about ending an era of great military operations to transform other countries. Future missions should have clear and achievable goals. They should also focus on “the fundamental interests of the national security” of the United States.

Fight against ISIS

The president also pledged that the United States would continue to take action against the local branch of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia following its withdrawal from Afghanistan. He threatened the group that claimed responsibility for the latest devastating attack on Kabul airport: “We are not done with you yet.” The fight against terrorism continues, but without ground troops. The United States would hunt and capture the terrorists attacking the country “to the ends of the earth,” Biden said. “We will not forgive, we will not forget.” Dozens of Afghans and 13 US soldiers were killed in the terrorist attack at Kabul airport days before deployment.

The withdrawal of the last American soldiers also marked the end of the military evacuation of American citizens, allies and vulnerable Afghans. The United States and its partners had airlifted Western citizens and Afghans in need of protection as part of a massive military evacuation mission over the past two weeks. According to the Washington government, the US military alone removed about 79,000 civilians from the country, including about 6,000 Americans. The United States and its allies have together transported more than 123,000 people.

Still Americans in Afghanistan

However, there are still tens of thousands of people in Afghanistan who want to flee the Taliban – most of them Afghans. Biden said there were probably 100 to 200 US citizens in Afghanistan who had “some intention of leaving.” Most of those who remained there are dual nationals and have long-standing ties to Afghanistan. “We stick to getting them out, in case they want to get out,” Biden said. The president had promised all American citizens wishing to leave the country to take them out of the country.

Republicans in the US Senate accused Biden of breaking his word. House Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter that Biden had promised not to withdraw US troops until all Americans were evacuated. “He broke that promise and left the Americans and our Afghan partners in a bind.”

Cooperation with the Taliban

The US government and other partners have pledged that, even after the withdrawal of international troops, they will work to ensure that Afghans and Western citizens wishing to leave the country are allowed to leave the country unhindered. To do this, they depend on cooperation with the Taliban. They have at least promised to allow people to leave the country. How exactly this should happen is open. There are also around 300 Germans in Afghanistan, as Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) told ZDF.

With the withdrawal, the West ceded the country to the Islamists it had driven out by the operation led by the United States at the end of 2001. The Taliban had regained power in Afghanistan in mid-August after a military conquest that took hold. was accelerated quickly after the announcement of Biden’s withdrawal. So far, the Islamists have acted more moderately than during their reign from 1996 to 2001 and have been conciliatory. Many Afghans doubt they stick to this line. Human rights violations and attacks on journalists have been reported.

Uncertain future

So far, it is not clear how the Taliban intend to rule the country in crisis. The Taliban’s governing council discussed the formation of a new Islamic government as well as the current situation and security in the country at a meeting in the southern province of Kandahar. The Saturday-Monday meeting was chaired by Taliban leader Haibatullah Achundsada, spokesman Sabiullah Mujahid announced on Twitter on Tuesday. A new Islamic cabinet was also discussed. Achundsada then gave detailed instructions to the governing board. The location of the meeting was not disclosed.

Federal Foreign Minister Maas is currently traveling to several countries neighboring Afghanistan to discuss the admission of Afghan refugees. Germany wants to help more than 40,000 people leave the country – by land or directly by plane from Kabul. However, the damaged civil part of the airport is currently unable to handle the flights.

Maas comments on embassy in Kabul

During a visit to Qatar, Maas said that after the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, Germany would also seek diplomatic representation under certain conditions. “If it was politically possible and if the security situation allows it, then Germany should again have its own embassy in Kabul.” We are currently in close coordination with our European partners on this subject. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) also said there were talks with countries like France, Britain, the Netherlands and Italy on this – so that we could “establish an ongoing dialogue with the Taliban “.

Only a few countries like Russia, China and Turkey currently have their embassies in Kabul. The United States gave up its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan with the troop withdrawal and transferred it to Qatar for the time being.

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