President Joe Biden on Tuesday defended his decision to end the war in Afghanistan, a day after the U.S. completed its withdrawal and the commander-in-chief was facing blowback from Republicans over the American exit from the country.
“It was time to end this war,” Biden said in remarks from the White House. In perhaps his most forceful speech on Afghanistan to date, Biden said he disagreed with critics who charge he could have evacuated more people sooner or in a more orderly fashion.
“I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit,” Biden said.
The last U.S. troops left Afghanistan on Monday, closing a 20-year war that was marked in its final days by a terrorist attack on the Kabul airport that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans.
Some Republicans have called for the Democratic president to resign or to be impeached after the frantic final U.S. exit from the country. While the GOP has no path to impeach Biden without congressional majorities, the president’s approval rating has fallen amid the withdrawal.
As MarketWatch has reported, global financial markets have been largely unmoved by developments in Afghanistan. But some analysts believe the fallout could potentially cloud the outlook for Biden’s legislative agenda, which includes major infrastructure and social spending packages.
Biden in his speech also vowed to continue the U.S. campaign against ISIS-K, which he has blamed for the attack on the Kabul airport last week.
“We are not done with you yet,” he said. Biden said the U.S. “will not forgive and we will not forget” those who would do the country harm through terrorist acts.