U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31, days ahead of his original September 11 deadline.
In his remarks at the White House, Biden said, “In this context, speed is safety. Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with an increased risk of safety to our personnel.”
The president in April ordered all U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that drew the United States into its longest war.
In defending the withdrawal, he said that the U.S. military had achieved its counterterrorism objectives in the 20-year war.
Biden added, “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. It’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
He reaffirmed that the U.S. will continue providing support to the Afghan government.