As the U.S. completed its full evacuation from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden on Thursday insisted that his decision to end the 20-year war was an “extraordinary success.”

“My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over. I’m the fourth president who has faced the issue of whether and when to end this war,” Biden said in a 26-minute speech from the White House. “When I was running for president, I made a commitment that I would end this war, and today I have honored that commitment. It was time to be honest with the American people; we no longer had a clear purpose in an open-ended mission in Afghanistan.”

“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan, it’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” the president added.

Biden also claimed that the damage would have been even bigger if the United States remained in the war.


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“When I hear we could have, should have continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan, at low risk to our service members, at low cost,” Biden said. “I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1% of this country who put that uniform on.”

“There’s nothing low grade or low risk or low cost about any war,” he continued. “It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”

Biden’s Thursday speech touting his decision received backlash from members of Congress coming less than a week since the 13 U.S. service members died in Kabul.

“Truth matters: Leaving Americans and thousands upon thousands of our Afghan partners behind is not success—it offends our values and aspirations. Mr. President, bring them home,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tweeted.

Biden also acknowledged that a couple of hundred Americans, who wanted to leave Afghanistan, remain in the country.

It’s still unknown as to how many Afghan partners, who helped the United States military and applied for special U.S. visas, couldn’t escape the country yet.

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