Biden announces plan to end America's longest war

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Fernando Alfonso III, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 0137 GMT (0937 HKT) April 15, 2021
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1:29 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Afghan president says he spoke to Biden and "respects" US decision to withdraw troops 

From CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh in Kabul, Afghanistan

Rahmat Gul/AP
Rahmat Gul/AP

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani said he spoke to President Biden and that he “respects the U.S. decision” to withdraw forces from his country.

“Afghanistan’s proud security and defense forces are fully capable of defending its people and country, which they have been doing all along, and for which the Afghan nation will forever remain grateful,” Ghani said on Twitter Wednesday.

Biden is due to announce within hours that American troops will leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11, ending 20 years of military involvement in the country in response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

1:28 p.m. ET, April 14, 2021

Here's what we know about Biden's announcement today on Afghanistan

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Biden is expected to formally announce his decision today to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan before Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that led the US into its longest war.

"We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result," Biden will say in his remarks, scheduled for 2:15 p.m. ET.

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

In a sign he views his remarks as a historic bookend to the prolonged conflict, he will deliver them from precisely the same spot in the White House Treaty Room that President George W. Bush announced the start of the war on Oct. 7, 2001.

Afterward, he'll visit the section of Arlington National Cemetery where many of America's war dead from Afghanistan are buried.

Biden will say in his speech that American diplomatic and humanitarian efforts will continue in Afghanistan and would support peace efforts between the Afghan government and the Taliban. But he'll be unequivocal that two decades after it began, the Afghanistan war is ending.

"It is time to end America's longest war. It is time for American troops to come home," he'll say.

The deadline Biden has set is absolute, with no potential for extension based on worsening conditions on the ground. Officials said after two decades of war, it was clear to the President that throwing more time and money at Afghanistan's problems wasn't going to work. Some US troops will remain to protect Americans diplomats, though officials declined to provide a precise number.

Biden has spent months weighing his decision, and determined a war in Afghanistan that killed some 2,300 troops and cost more than $2 trillion no longer fit within the pressing foreign policy concerns of 2021.

Read more about Biden's remarks here.