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'Time to turn page' on Afghanistan: Obama backs Biden's decision to withdraw troops till Sep 11

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Washington DC | April 15, 2021 2:43:55 AM IST
Former US President Barack Obama on Wednesday came out in support of incumbent Joe Biden's decision to pull out troops ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and said that it is time to turn the page to the next chapter of relationship with Afghanistan.

"President Biden has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Today, we should pause to pay tribute to the extraordinary sacrifices of the Americans who have served in our longest war, as well as their families," Obama said in a statement.

While supporting Biden's decision, Obama said "American troops, diplomats and development workers can take pride in their efforts to deliver justice for 9/11, destroy al Qaeda's safe-haven, train Afghan Security Forces, and support the people of Afghanistan."

The former President asserted that the role of US will be changed as it will enter into a new chapter to improve governance in Afghanistan.

"Since we began to draw down U.S. forces in 2011, the United States made clear to the Afghan government that we would be gradually transitioning responsibility for security while creating time and space for efforts to improve governance and pursue diplomacy. Nearly a decade later, it is time to turn the page to the next chapter of our relationship with Afghanistan," Obama wrote.

Biden earlier today announced that the United States will start its final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on May 1 and complete its pullout ahead of the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

"The United States will begin our final withdrawal beginning on May 1 this year," Biden said.

"US troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of the heinous attack on September 11 but we will not take our eyes off the terrorist threat," he added.

Biden said the US will use all tools at its disposal to respond to any potential Taliban attack on US forces or partners. He further said that he will ask other countries to step up support for Afghanistan.

"Will ask other countries in the region, especially Pakistan, but also Russia, China, India and Turkey, to step up support for Afghanistan," Biden added.

This statement comes after a senior Biden administration official on Tuesday had said that the US is ending the war in Afghanistan after 20 years and will complete the withdrawal of American troops before September 11.

Former US President Donald Trump had set a May 1 deadline to withdraw from Afghanistan but the effort has been complicated by logistical issues, according to the senior Biden administration officials. (ANI)

 
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