US President Joe Biden formally announced his decision to end America’s longest war on Wednesday, deeming the prolonged and intractable conflict in Afghanistan no longer aligned with American priorities.
Biden said he would withdraw US troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that launched the war in the first place.
Those origins had long given way to other objectives, and Biden declared Wednesday that no amount of time or money could solve the problems his three predecessors had tried and failed to fix.
“War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking,” Biden said during his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, the same location from which President George W. Bush had announced the war was beginning in October 2001.
“We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives,” Biden went on. “Bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is degraded in Afghanistan and it’s time to end the forever war.”
It was a decisive moment for a President not yet 100 days into the job.
Biden has spent months weighing his decision, and he determined a war in Afghanistan that has killed some 2,300 US troops and cost more than $2 trillion no longer fit within the pressing foreign policy concerns of 2021.