Though the former President offered his support of President Joe Biden’s plans to bring home American troops, he urged his successor to draw an end to America’s longest war well before the September 11 that Biden set last week. Trump said that while leaving Afghanistan is “a wonderful and positive thing to do,” he had set a May 1 withdrawal deadline and added that “we should keep as close to that schedule as possible.”
“I wish Joe Biden wouldn’t use September 11 as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons. First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long,” Trump said, adding: “September 11 represents a very sad event and period for our Country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost.”
Biden said the withdrawal of American troops will begin on May 1, in line with the agreement the Trump administration made with the Taliban. Some US troops will remain to protect American diplomats, though officials have declined to provide a precise number.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan insisted earlier Sunday that US objectives had been achieved in Afghanistan, though he stopped short of saying the US “won” the war there. Instead, he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that the US must now focus on the battles of the “next 20 years” rather than the last 20.
“The terrorist threat has changed dramatically over the last 20 years,” he said, citing the spread of al Qaeda to Syria, Yemen, Somalia and ISIS in Iraq.
“Against that dispersed and distributed terrorist threat, we need to allocate resources in a way that allows us to protect the homeland against a variety of threats from a variety of countries and continents, not just Afghanistan.”