October 18. 2021. 6:08

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Biden defends Afghanistan exit in White House speech

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the end of the war in Afghanistan, in the State Dining Room of the White House, in Washington, on Tuesday. Photograph: EPA/Michael Reynolds

US president Joe Biden has defended his the manner of his country’s exit from Afghanistan.

Speaking on at the White House, Mr Biden said he did not think the evacuation could have been done in a more orderly manner.

In his first public remarks since the last US troops flew out of Kabul airport, Mr Biden said his priority was making sure Afghanistan could never be used to launch an attack on the US.

He said the US succeeded in what it set out to do in this regard.

Of the manner of the withdrawal, he said “I take responsibility”, adding that te US would continue to work to help more people leave Afghanistan who were at risk.

He said the decision about Afghanistan was also about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.

His speech was delivered just hours after Taliban forces assumed control of Kabul’s airport, completing their swift and stunning takeover of the country as the Afghan government withered away over the past month.

Mr Biden had long believed in the need to end America’s military presence in Afghanistan, deciding in April to press ahead with exit plans by early September. But the withdrawal turned disorderly and deadly, with a terrorist attack by the group Isis-K killing scores of Afghans and 13 US troops last week, as US and coalition forces mounted a desperate effort to evacuate more than 100,000 people from the country. — Reuters

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