In a defiant speech Tuesday, President Biden stood by his decision to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and warned the terrorist group ISIS-K, “We are not done with you yet.”
Less than a week after the insurgent group killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians in two suicide bomb attacks in Kabul, Biden said the U.S. remains committed to pursuing terrorist organizations “without boots on the ground.”
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“As Commander in Chief I firmly believe the best path to guard our safety and our security lies in a tough, unforgiving, targeted, precise strategy that goes after terror where it is today, not where it was two decades ago,” the president said.
Biden, who described the evacuation efforts as “messy” last week, said he “respectfully” disagreed with critics who contend U.S. forces should have remained in Afghanistan longer.
Biden said it was not in the national interest of the U.S. to remain in Afghanistan to root out terrorists.
“Here is a critical thing to understand: the world is changing,” Biden said.
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The president pointed to geopolitical threats from foreign actors like China and Russia as increasingly pressing issues that the U.S. needs to devote resources to.
“There is nothing China or Russia would rather have, would want more in this competition, than the United States to be bogged down another decade in Afghanistan,” he said.
Biden said the U.S. will continue to fight terrorist organizations by using “over horizon capabilities” to attack through airstrikes instead of using major military operations on the ground.
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The president said this change in military might will serve to “make us stronger and more effective” by relying more heavily on technological advancement rather than on a ground-based presence.
“And for anyone who gets the wrong idea, let me say it clearly,” Biden added. “To those who wish America harm, to those who engage in terrorism against us or our allies, know this: The United States will never rest. We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the earth and you will pay the ultimate price.”