President Biden confirmed Wednesday that he will not be taking the Afghanistan war into its third decade. "It's time to end the forever war," he said in a speech from the Treaty Room of the White House, which CNN notes is the same room in which George W. Bush announced the start of US military involvement in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks almost 20 years ago. "War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking," Biden said, per the New York Times. "We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives." Biden plans to withdraw all US troops by Sept. 11 this year. Around 2,500 US troops are left in the country. NATO officials said after Biden's speech that the alliance plans to withdraw its 7,000 troops from the country along the same timeline.
Biden said it was time to "end the cycle" of extending the American presence in the hope of creating better conditions to pull out. "I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats," he said. "I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth." Unlike the deal Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban last year, Biden's withdrawal plan is not conditions-based, officials say. Biden said he spoke with George W. Bush and Barack Obama before announcing the decision. After the speech, Biden visited Arlington National Cemetery and said it was "absolutely clear" to him that withdrawing from Afghanistan was the right move, the AP reports. (Read more Afghanistan war stories.)