Washington — President Biden will address the American people Tuesday afternoon following the end of the nation’s two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, which came to a close Monday with the departure of thefrom the main airport in Kabul.
In remarks from the White House, the president is poised to explain his decision not to extend the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, the final weeks of which were marked by scenes of chaos in the country’s capital as scores of people sought to flee after the Taliban rapidly rose to power and the killing of 13 U.S. service members by a suicide bomber.
How to watch President Biden’s remarks
- What: President Biden delivers remarks on the end of the war in Afghanistan
- Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021
- Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
- Location: The White House
- Online stream: Live on CBSN in the player above or on your mobile or streaming device
The U.S. completed its historic airlift of tens of thousands of evacuees hours before Mr. Biden’s August 31 deadline for the military presence in Afghanistan to end. More than 122,000 people flown out of the country since late July by U.S. military and coalition aircraft, including more than 5,400 U.S. citizens.
The final American plane, carrying diplomats and remaining troops, left Kabul at 3:29 p.m. ET, General Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, said Monday, completing the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there are fewer than 200, “likely closer to 100,” Americans who were, but stressed the Biden administration is working to get them out of the country. U.S. diplomatic operations have been shifted from Kabul to Doha, Qatar, he said.
Mr. Biden had pledged to end America’s longest war andthat all U.S. military forces would leave Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that launched the military effort there. The president then the withdrawal would conclude August 31, ahead of his initial deadline.
But with the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, culminating in Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, more than 5,000 U.S. troops were sent to Kabul to assist with evacuations of U.S. citizens and Afghans who aided American forces during the 20-year war.
The president faced pressure to extend his August 31 deadline to complete the U.S. exit from Afghanistan, but he said in a statement Monday that top military officials unanimously recommended the airlift mission end as planned.
Mr. Biden warned last week that U.S. forces on the ground in Kabul faced growing threats with each day they remained, and the final days of the war saw the deadliest day for U.S. troops in more than a decade.
A suicide bombing on Thursday by a member of the group ISIS-K, an affiliate of the terrorist group ISIS, killed at least 169 Afghans and. In retaliation for the attack, the U.S. launched two airstrikes against ISIS-K targets.