Posted July 9, 2021 1:18 am by

Biden says Kabul’s fall to Taliban ‘not inevitable’ as fighting rages

Members of an internally displaced Afghan family who left their home during the ongoing conflict between Taliban and Afghan security forces arrive from Qala-i-Naw, in Enjil district of Herat, on July 8, 2021 © AFP / Hoshang Hashimi

Washington (AFP), Jul 8 – Joe Biden on Thursday defended the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying it was “not inevitable” that the country would fall to the emboldened Taliban, and confirmed the US exit would be completed by August 31.

But he also admitted that, nearly 20 years after American forces toppled the Taliban regime in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it was “highly unlikely” Kabul would be able to control the entire country.

The US military has “achieved” its goals in Afghanistan — killing Osama bin Laden, degrading Al-Qaeda and preventing more attacks on the United States, Biden said in a White House speech.

“We are ending America’s longest war,” he said, stating that the withdrawal would be completed by August 31 — earlier than his initial deadline of September 11. The Pentagon has said the exit is already 90 percent complete.

Biden says Kabul’s fall to Taliban ‘not inevitable’ as fighting rages

US President Joe Biden leaves after speaking about the situation in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 8, 2021 © AFP / SAUL LOEB

“The status quo is not an option,” Biden said of staying in the country. “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan.”

“The United States cannot afford to remain tethered to policies created to respond to a world as it was 20 years ago,” he said. “We need to meet the threats where they are today.”

Biden said the United States “did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build” and that the Afghan people alone should determine their future.

But he acknowledged the uncertainty about what that future would look like.

Asked if a Taliban takeover was “inevitable,” the president said: “No, it is not.”

But, he admitted, “the likelihood there is going to be one unified government in Afghanistan controlling the whole country is highly unlikely.”

The Taliban claim to have seized more than 100 out of nearly 400 districts in the country.

“The Afghan government… has to come together,” Biden said. “They clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. The question is, will they generate the kind of Read More…