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Biden announces US military mission in Afghanistan to end August 31

US President Joe Biden speaks about the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House, on July 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Joe Biden speaks about the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, in the East Room of the White House, on July 8, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the American military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31, saying “speed is safety” as the United States seeks to end the nearly 20-year war.

“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build,” Biden says in a speech updating on his administration’s ongoing efforts to wind down the US war in Afghanistan. “Afghan leaders have to come together and drive toward a future.”

Biden also amplifies the justification of his decision to end US military operations, even as the Taliban make rapid advances in significant swaths of the country.

The effort to further explain his thinking on Afghanistan comes as the administration has repeatedly sought in recent days to frame ending the conflict as a decision that Biden made after concluding it’s an “unwinnable war” and one that “does not have a military solution.”

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