Among the questions: What happens to the Americans still in Afghanistan? And: What does the exit mean for Biden’s approach to the world?
President Biden issued a stern defense Tuesday of his decision to exit Afghanistan. He also hailed the final evacuation — which saw more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and others airlifted from the country — as an “extraordinary success.”
“My fellow Americans, the war in Afghanistan is now over,” Biden said from the White House. He added, “I refuse to continue a war that was no longer in the service of the vital national interest of our people.”
Americans have largely supported getting out of the country. The 20-year war cost thousands of lives.
How U.S. troops withdrew, however, has drawn its share of criticism. The far-faster-than-expected Taliban takeover created conditions that left the U.S. scrambling to get out. For security, American forces had to rely on a former enemy that once gave cover to the terrorist group that planned the 9/11 attacks in the first place.
Amid the chaos, a suicide bombing at the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. servicemembers and scores of Afghans.
Biden will hope that as the exit sign gets smaller in the rearview mirror, the decision grows more popular.
The ramifications from the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, and the withdrawal from the country, will likely have long-lasting effects, and they raise lots of questions.
Here are five:
1. What happens to the Americans still in Afghanistan?
In his remarks Tuesday, Biden said there are about 100 to 200 Americans who remain in Afghanistan. Most are dual citizens, he said, who initially didn’t want to leave because of family roots in the country.
2. What happens to Afghan refugees and visa holders?
3. What does the exit mean for Biden’s approach to the world?
4. Will the exit affect Biden politically long term?
5. Does the American public separate the ultimate decision on leaving Afghanistan from the last couple weeks of the war?