President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan will end on Aug. 31. “The United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan. To get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and deliver justice to Osama Bin laden, and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States,” said Biden. “We achieved those objectives, that’s why we went. We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build, and it is the right and responsibility of Afghan people alone to decide their future and how to run the run their country,”
Though the initial exit date was set for Sept. 11, American troops have quickly, and quietly, pulled out of military bases across the war-torn country over the past few weeks, including their main Bagram air base on Friday, the last to be cleared out. Meanwhile, the Taliban militant group has been making huge advances throughout Afghanistan, overrunning one village and town after another, and sending citizens into a panic about the fate of their country in light of the U.S. exit.
Biden also had a message for those who have criticized the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan: “Let me ask those who want us to stay: How many more? How many more thousands American daughters and sons are you willing to risk?” The president added that the U.S. will keep providing civilian humanitarian aid to the country after ending military operations.