President Joe Biden visited Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery to honor those who died in recent American conflicts soon after he announced the withdrawal of the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, by the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terror assault on the United States.
Watch the event in the player above.
The decision marks perhaps the most significant foreign policy decision for Biden in the early going of his presidency.
He’s long been skeptical about the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
As Barack Obama’s vice president, Biden was a lonely voice in the administration who advised the 44th president to tilt towards a smaller counterterrorism role in the country while military advisers were urging a troop buildup to counter Taliban gains.
Biden has also made clear he wants to recalibrate U.S. foreign policy to face bigger challenges posed by China and Russia.
Withdrawing all U.S. troops comes with clear risks. It could boost the Taliban’s effort to claw back power and undo gains toward democracy and women’s rights made over the past two decades.
Biden warned the Taliban that the United States will defend itself if they choose to attack our troops who will be leaving by September 11th.
It also opens Biden to criticism, mostly Republicans and some Democrats, even though former President Donald Trump had also wanted a full withdrawal.
While Biden’s decision keeps U.S. forces in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, it sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 U.S. troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1 trillion.
Biden consulted with allies, military leaders, lawmakers, some of his predecessors and Vice President Kamala Harris to help make his decision.
He is emphasizing that his administration will continue to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban and assist international efforts to train the Afghan military.