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Biden draws curtain on Afghanistan, shifts focus to ‘powerful adversaries’ China, Russia



Staunchly defending the hasty withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan, United States President Joe Biden said it was time for Washington to shift its focus towards “powerful adversaries” such as Russia and China

In his address to the nation from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said, “My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over. I give you my word: With all of my heart, I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision, and the best decision for America.” he said.

Biden’s address to the nation came just 11 days before the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that led to the US intervention in Afghanistan.

“The fundamental obligation of a President, in my opinion, is to defend and protect America…not against threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow,” he said.

“But I also know that the threat from terrorism continues in its pernicious and evil nature. But it’s changed, expanded to other countries. Our strategy has to change too,” he added.

The US President also highlighted the evacuation of more than 120,000 people from Afghanistan, saying the “extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravery, and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.”

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Biden has been widely criticised over the abrupt manner of the US withdrawal, which led to the unexpected collapse of the Afghan security forces US troops had trained and funded for years.

Stressing that it was time for the US to face new challenges like cyberattacks and nuclear proliferation, Biden said, “We have to shore up America’s competitiveness to meet these new challenges in the competition for the 21st century. And we can do both: fight terrorism and take on new threats that are here now and will continue to be here in the future.”

He said, “There’s 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.”

The United States, he said, will maintain the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan and other countries.

(With inputs from agencies)

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