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Biden says it's up to Afghans to determine their future

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Tom Brenner/UPI
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo by Tom Brenner/UPI | License Photo

July 8 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Thursday said he won't "send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan," promising an end to the U.S. military mission there by Aug. 31.

He spoke about the drawdown efforts in the East Room of the White House, taking questions from reporters and defending his administration's decision to fully withdraw.

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"We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build," Biden said.

"How many more, how many more thousands of America's daughters and sons are you willing to risk? How long would you have them stay?

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"It's up to the Afghans to make decisions about the future of their country."

The update comes just a couple days after the Pentagon said the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan is about 90% complete.

Biden's remarks also come amid renewed peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government in Iran.

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In the meantime, the Taliban have taken control of more territory in Afghanistan recently and stepped up attacks against government forces.

Biden said he doesn't believe a Taliban takeover of the country is inevitable. One reporter asked him whether he trusted the Taliban.

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"Is that a serious question? It's a silly question. Do I trust the Taliban? No. But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military."

Biden has defied intelligence assessments about challenges facing the civilian government in Kabul, saying he believes they have the ability to generate the support they'll need after U.S. troops are gone.

Some analysts fear that the Taliban could again seize control of the country from the current government in as little as six months, mirroring a situation that existed there before U.S. forces arrived in 2001.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday that while the United States aims for a "negotiated peaceful, political settlement," it has the ability to support the Afghan military without a formal presence there.

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