US soldiers fire artillery in Afghanistan's Kandahar province in June 2011. Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in October 2001 to stop the Taliban regime from providing a safe haven to al Qaeda and to stop al Qaeda's use of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities.
Baz Ratner/Reuters

20 years in Afghanistan: America's longest war

Updated 9:48 AM ET, Fri April 16, 2021

US soldiers fire artillery in Afghanistan's Kandahar province in June 2011. Operation Enduring Freedom was launched in October 2001 to stop the Taliban regime from providing a safe haven to al Qaeda and to stop al Qaeda's use of Afghanistan as a base of operations for terrorist activities.
Baz Ratner/Reuters

President Joe Biden has formally announced his decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that led the United States into its longest war.

"I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats," Biden said in his remarks. "I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth."

Biden spoke from the same spot in the White House Treaty Room where President George W. Bush announced the start of the war on October 7, 2001.

Biden said diplomatic and humanitarian efforts would continue in Afghanistan and that the US would support peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban. But he has determined that a war that has killed some 2,300 troops and cost more than $2 trillion no longer fit within the pressing foreign policy concerns of 2021.

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