Biden says that Afghans must now "fight for themselves" as Taliban advance continues

Washington DC – With the withdrawal of US troops largely complete, US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday Afghanistan must now fight on its own as the Taliban advances.

Afghan security force members take part in a military operation against the Taliban.
Afghan security force members take part in a military operation against the Taliban.  © IMAGO / Xinhua

"They've got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation," Biden said.

The Afghan government's security forces should outnumber the Taliban militarily, including in terms of the strength of their troops, he said.

"But they've got to want to fight," Biden said.

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His comments came on the same day Taliban fighters captured their eighth provincial capital in days.

Since the start of the withdrawal of international troops in early May, the Taliban have made massive territorial gains.

Biden appealed to Afghanistan's political leadership to pull together.

"I think they're beginning to realize they've got to come together politically at the top," he said.

He promised the US would continue to provide financial and military support to Afghan security forces and said he would be briefed on the situation every day. But he said he did not regret ordering the withdrawal of US troops.

When the decision was made, there were some 2,500 US troops left in Afghanistan. The withdrawal is now 95% finished and expected to be done by the end of the month. Soldiers from other NATO countries have already left.

The US government has earmarked $3.3 billion in the draft budget to support Afghan security forces next year, Biden's spokesperson Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Biden ordered the withdrawal of US troops because the stated original goal of invasion 20 years ago – to fight the al-Qaeda terrorist group – had long since been achieved, she said.

Cover photo: IMAGO / Xinhua

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