Former President Barack Obama spoke out on Wednesday to praise President Joe Biden after he announced plans to remove all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11. Obama said in a statement “time to turn the page” on America’s longest-running war.
“President Biden has made the right decision in completing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan,” Obama said, according to The Hill. “It has been a long and arduous struggle in Afghanistan, rooted in our response to the deadliest terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland in our history.”
“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,” he added.
Obama went on to touch on the “very difficult challenges and further hardship ahead in Afghanistan,” adding that the U.S. must remain engaged in the country diplomatically in order to support its progress on human rights.
“But after nearly two decades of putting our troops in harm’s way, it is time to recognize that we have accomplished all that we can militarily, and that it’s time to bring our remaining troops home,” Obama continued. “I support President Biden’s bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.”
The White House has confirmed that Biden spoke with Obama about the Afghanistan situation before making his announcement about removing American troops from the nation on Wednesday.
“I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth,” Biden said in his speech. “It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home.”
Former President Donald Trump had promised to remove all troops from Afghanistan by May, but Biden is not going to be able to meet this deadline. However, Biden gave a nod to Trump’s efforts on this front by saying that U.S. forces would begin drawing down May 1.