Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Biden Pulls the Plug on Afghan War at Risk of Turmoil Ahead

  • Sept. 11 withdrawal by U.S. could make Taliban war’s winner
  • Administration intends to focus on newer threats like China
Joe Biden speaks in the Treaty Room of the White House on April 14.
Joe Biden speaks in the Treaty Room of the White House on April 14.Photographer: Andrew Harnik/AP Photo/Bloomberg
Updated on

For Joe Biden, withdrawing the remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan was a recognition of the inevitable after 20 years of war with no clear victory in sight. The president’s critics argue it will obliterate American leverage over the Taliban and doom the country’s few but fragile gains.

Biden, speaking Wednesday from the same room where President George W. Bush announced the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001, cast his decision as the ultimate buck-stops-here moment, fulfilling a goal that three previous presidents had promised but failed to deliver on. He would finally end the longest of the country’s “forever wars,” refusing to risk more taxpayer funds -- and American blood -- on a far-away conflict.