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'Graveyard of empires', 'not in US interests': In speech, Biden backs his Afghanistan exit policy

Biden called the mission in Afghanistan, to degrade al Qaeda threat, a success

USA-WEATHER/TEXAS-BIDEN US President Joe Biden | Reuters

In a national address, US President Joe Biden strongly backed his exit policy from Afghanistan,  saying he has ended America's longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed. "The events we're seeing now are, sadly, proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan. As known in history, it's the graveyard of empires," he said. "You have to be honest. Our mission in Afghanistan is taking many missteps, made many missteps over the past two decades. I am now the fourth American president to preside over the war in Afghanistan, two Democrats and two Republicans," he said.

"I will not pass this responsibly down to a fifth president. I will not mislead the American people by claiming that just a little more time in Afghanistan will make all the difference, nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for what we are today and how we must move forward from here," he said.

Biden warned the Taliban of swift and forceful response from the US if they attacked American personnel or disrupt their operations in Afghanistan. "As we carry out this departure, we have made it clear to the Taliban, if they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation, the US presence will be swift, and the response will be swift and forceful," Biden said.

"We will defend our people with devastating force if necessary. Our current military mission was short in time, limited in scope, and focused on its objectives: get our people and our allies as safely and as quickly as possible," he said.

After President Ashraf Ghani fled and Taliban declared an Islamic emirate in the country, chaos had ensued in Kabul. The airports were filled up and the tarmacs were crowded with desperate civilians looking for a way out.

The US president said he is saddened by the current situation in Afghanistan, but does not regret his decision to withdraw American troops. "I am president of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me. I am deeply saddened by the facts we now face, but I do not regret my decision to end America's warfighting in Afghanistan and maintain a laser focus on our counterterrorism mission there and other parts of the world. Our mission to degrade the terrorist threat of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and kill Osama bin Laden was a success," he said.

-Inputs from agencies

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