Mary Rose Corkery
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Wednesday praised President Joe Biden’s decision to fully withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11.
“After sinking two decades of blood and treasure into wars in the Middle East, it’s time to bring our troops home. America does not need to fight forever wars. I applaud President Biden’s decision,” Schumer said.
Biden announced Wednesday that American forces will start pulling out of Afghanistan on May 1 and said all American soldiers, “forces deployed by our NATO allies and operational partners” would be out of the country Sept. 11, 2021.
The U.S. had agreed with the Taliban in 2020 to remove all troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, provided that the Taliban maintained their end of the agreement to contain terrorism. Biden said in his first solo press conference as president in March that fulfilling that timeline would be difficult.
When asked during the March press conference about whether he sees troops remaining in the Middle Eastern country in 2022, Biden responded with, “I can’t picture that being the case.”
The Taliban is believed to have fired rockets at a U.S.-Afghan airfield and a U.S. military base located in southern Afghanistan, a move that violated the peace agreement, three U.S. military officials said, The New York Times reported in August.
“Unlike President Trump, President Biden and Secretary Austin have developed a careful and thought-out plan. This isn’t President Trump waking up one morning and announcing a random new policy on Twitter while our generals scramble to catch up. This will be a careful and thought-out plan, with a real timetable and a firm end date,” Schumer said.
The Senate Majority Leader said an area of concern about keeping U.S. soldiers stationed in the Middle East “is mission creep and the enormous pressure to kick the can down the road and delay final decisions.” Schumer said the administration would brief the Senate on the withdrawal plan and answer lawmakers’ questions.
“We should and must stick to the date the president has proposed as the last day our troops will be there. I have been assured by the White House that the September 11th date will stick and that President Biden will not kick the can down the road. I’m happy,” Schumer said.
“In my view, President Biden’s plan to bring American troops home from Afghanistan is a very wise one,” Schumer said.
Schumer reflected on the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and spoke about “the people I knew who perished.” The Senate Majority Leader brought up the mission which eliminated Osama Bin Laden and said the U.S. military has grown increasingly effective in fighting against terrorism across the world.
“Our intelligence agencies have assessed that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups do not pose an immediate threat to strike the United States from Afghanistan because of the brave work of our armed forces and intelligence organizations,” Schumer said.
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