Shepparton News

Biden fends off criticism

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WASHINGTON, D. C.: Facing sharp criticism over the tumultuous US withdrawal from Afghanista­n, President Joe Biden says it was the best available option to end both the US’s longest war and decades of fruitless efforts to remake other countries through military force.

Biden portrayed the chaotic exit as a logistical success that would have been just as messy even if it had been launched weeks earlier, while staying in the country would have required committing more American troops.

‘‘I was not going to extend this forever war,’’ he said in a speech from the White House.

In his first remarks since the final pullout of US forces on Monday, Biden said 5500 Americans had left and the US had leverage over the Islamist militant group to ensure 100 to 200 others could also depart if they wanted to.

He said Washington would continue to target militants who posed a threat to the US, but would no longer use its military to try to build democratic societies in places that had never had them.

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