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tv   President Biden Delivers Remarks on Afghanistan Strategy  CSPAN  April 15, 2021 6:34am-6:51am EDT

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u.s. capitol police inspector general michael bolton testifies before the house administration committee about his report on the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol. >> president biden announced the u.s. would begin removing troops from afghanistan by may 1 and set a final removal date for september 11, 2020 one. he delivered this beast -- speech from the white house treaty room. president biden: good afternoon. i'm speaking to you today from the treaty room in the white house. the same spot where on october, 2001, president informed our nation the united states
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military had begun strike some terrorist training camps in afghanistan. it was just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2977 innocent souls. it turned lower manhattan into a disaster. destroyed parts of the pentagon and made hallowed ground of a shield in -- a field in shanksville pennsylvania. it sparked an american promise that we would never forget. we went to afghanistan in 2001 to root out al qaeda and prevent future terrorist attack. our objective was clear. the cause was just. our nato allies and partners rally beside. i supported that military action along with overwhelming majority of members of congress. more than seven years later, in 2008, weeks before we swore the
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oath of office president obama and i -- he asked me to travel to afghanistan and report back on the state of the war in afghanistan. i flew to afghanistan to a rugged, mountainous region on the border of pakistan. what i thought that trip read -- reinforced my conviction. endless military force could not create a sustainable afghan government. i believed our presence in afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place. to ensure afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. we did that. we accomplish that objective. among with others we would follow us on a bin laden through the gates of hell. that's exactly what we did. we got him.
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it took us close to 10 years to put president obama's commitment into form. that's exactly what happened. osama bin laden was gone. that was 10 years ago. think about that. we deliver justice to bin laden a decade ago and we stayed in afghanistan for a decade s ince. our reasons for remaining are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved. the threat has become more dispersed. al-shabaab in somalia, al qaeda in the peninsula, al-nusra in syria, isis in syria and iraq and established affiliates in multiple countries in africa and asia. with the terror threat now in many places keeping thousands of
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troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at the cost of billions of dollars each year makes no sense to me. we cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in afghanistan hoping to create ideal conditions and expecting a different result. i am now the fourth united states president to provide over american troop presence in afghanistan. two republicans, two democrats. i will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth. after consulting closely with our allies and partners with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, diplomats and development experts. with the congress and the vice president as well as many others around the world i have concluded it is time to end america's longest war.
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it is time for american troops to come home. i inherited a diplomatic agreement duly negotiated between the government of the united states and the taliban that all u.s. forces would be out of afghanistan by may 1, 2021. just three months after my inauguration, that's what we inherited, that commitment. it was an agreement made by the united states government. that means something. keeping with that agreement and our national interest, the united states will begin our final withdraw beginning on may 1 of this year. we will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. we will do it in full
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coordination with our allies and partners. they now have more forces in afghanistan than we do. they attack us as we draw down. we will defend our partners with all the tools at our disposal. our allies and partners have stood beside us shoulder for shoulder in afghanistan for 20 years. we are grateful for the contributions they have made to our shared mission and the sacrifices they have borne. the plan has long been in together, out together. u.s. forces deployed by our nato allies, they will be up for mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on september 11. we will not take our eye off the terrorist threat. we will reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities.
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we have substantial assets in the region to prevent the reemergence of terrorist and threats to our homeland. we will hold the taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorist to threaten the united states or its allies from afghan soil. the afghan government made that commitment as well. we will focus our full attention on the threat we face today. my team is refining our national strategy to monitor and disrupt a terrorist threats not only in afghanistan but anywhere that may arise in africa, europe, the middle east, and elsewhere. i spoke yesterday with president bush conforming my decision. the valor, courage, and integrity.
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i'm immensely grateful for what they have shown for nearly two decades of combat deployment. we as a nation are forever indebted to them and their families. less than 1% of american serve in our armed forces. the remaining 9%, we owe them. they have never backed down from a single mission that we have asked of them. i witnessed the bravery firsthand during my visits to afghanistan. they never wavered in the resolve. they paid a tremendous price on our behalf. they have the thanks of a grateful nation. i will not stay involved in afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue. we will support the government of afghanistan. we will provide assistance to the afghan national defenses and
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security forces. along with our partners, we are trained and equipped with a standing force of over 300 afghan personnel today. hundreds of thousands over the past two decades. they will continue to fight on behalf of the afghans at great cost. they will support peace talks as we will, between the governor of afghanistan and the taliban facilitated by the masons. -- nations. we will ask other countries in the region, especially pakistan as well as russia, china, india, turkey. they all have a significant stake in a stable future for afghanistan. our next few months we will also determine what a continued u.s. diplomatic presidents in
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afghanistan will look like, including howlett ensure the security of our diplomats? many will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without robust u.s. military presence to stand as leverage. we gave that argument a decade. it has never proved effective. not when we had 98,000 troops in afghanistan. not when we are down to a few thousand. we have to change that thinking. american troops should not be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. that is nothing more than a recipe for keeping american troops in afghanistan indefinitely. i also know that many will argue that we should stay in afghanistan because withdrawal would damage america's credibility.
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i believe the exact opposite is true. we went to afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. that cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021. rather than return to war with the taliban we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us. we have to track and disrupt terrorist networks and operations that spread far beyond afghanistan. we have to show up american competitors to meet the stiff competition we are facing from an increasingly assertive china. we have to strengthen our alliances with like-minded partners to ensure the roles that govern cyber threats and emerging technologies that will shape our future are grounded in our democratic values, not those of the autocrats. we have to defeat this pandemic and strengthen the global health system. there will be another pandemic.
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we will be much more formidable over the long term if we fight the battles for the next 20 years. not the last 20. finally, the main argument for staying longer as with each of our three predecessors grappled with, no one wants to stay we should be in afghanistan forever. they insist now is not the right moment to leave. in 2014, nato issued a declaration affirming afghan security forces which from that point on have full responsibility for the country's security by the end of that year , that was seven years ago. when will it be the right moment to leave? one more year? two more years? 10 more years? $30 billion more? not now, that is how we got
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here. in this moment there is a significant downside risk without a clear timetable for departure. if we instead pursue the approach where the american exit is tied to conditions on the ground, we have to have clear answers to just what conditions require to allow us to depart? by what means and how long would it take to achieve that if they could be achieved at all? what additional cost in lives? i have not heard any good answers to these questions. if you can't answer them in my view, we should not stay. later today i'm going to visit arlington national cemetery in that sacred memorial, section 60
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is where our recent war dead are buried, thing -- including many of the women and men fighting in afghanistan and iraq. the grief is raw, it is a visceral reminder of the living cost of war. the past 12 years, ever since i became vice president, i carried with me a card to remind me of the exact number of american troops killed in anorak -- in iraq and afghanistan. our sacred human beings who left behind entire families, an exact accounting of solitary one needs to be had. as of today there are 200 --
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2400 88 u.s. troops and personnel who have died in operation freedom sentinel. 20,722 have been wounded. i'm the first president in four years who knows what it means to have a child serving in a war zone. my northstar has been remembering what it was like when my late son was deployed to iraq. how proud he was to serve his country. how insistent he was to deploy with his unit. the impact it had on him. we already have service numbers doing our duty whose parents served in the same war. we have service members who were
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not born when our nation was attacked on 9/11. the war on afghanistan was not meant to be a multinational undertaking. we went to war with clear goals and achieve those objectives. it is time to end the forever war. thank you all for listening. may god protect our troops, may god bless all of those families who lost someone in this endeavor. >> c-span your unfiltered view of government. brought to you by television companies and more including charter communications. >> charter has invested billions upgrading technology, empowering op

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