Joe Biden has no regrets over pulling American troops out of Afghanistan

11 August 2021, 08:08

Displaced Afghans Flee To Kabul As Taliban Make Gains In Northern Provinces
Displaced Afghans Flee To Kabul As Taliban Make Gains In Northern Provinces. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

US president Joe Biden has said he "doesn't regret" pulling American troops out of Afghanistan, despite Taliban gains.

He said it was now the responsibility of the local government to defend the country.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Mr Biden urged them to "fight for themselves".

"Afghan leaders have to come together," he said.

"They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation."

Washington has spent over $1 trillion in the 20 years of their involvement and lost thousands of troops, the president said.

However, the US intends to continue providing air support, food, equipment and salaries to Afghan forces.

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Full withdrawal of US forces was ordered in April, with the last of 3,000 troops expected to be gone by 11 September. The US military mission is expected to end by 31 August.

It comes as Boris Johnson confirmed in July that remaining British troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan as well.

The Taliban has made huge advances since forces began to retreat, with the insurgents currently in control of around 65 per cent of the nation after taking significant regional capitals.

The fall of the capitals of Badakhshan and Baghlan provinces to the north east and Farah to the west has put increasing pressure on the country's central government.

While the capital Kabul has not been directly threatened by the advance, the Taliban offensive continues to stretch Afghan security forces, having to largely fight against the insurgents on their own.

As a result, the government has been forced to withdraw from hard-to-defend rural districts to focus on holding urban areas.