Biden honors 9/11 victims as a shadow of the Afghan war

WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden celebrated the 21st anniversary of the September 11 attacks and laid a wreath at the Pentagon in a somber memorial service held amid steady rain.

Sunday’s ceremony came just over a year after Biden ended the long and costly war in Afghanistan that the US and its allies started in response to the terrorist attacks.

By ending the war in Afghanistan, the Democratic president made good on a campaign promise to bring US troops home from the country’s longest-running conflict. But the war ended in chaos in August 2021, when the US-backed Afghan government collapsed in the face of a nationwide Taliban advance that restored the fundamentalist group to power. A bomb attack claimed by an Afghanistan-based extremist group killed 170 Afghans and 13 US soldiers at Kabul airport, where thousands of desperate Afghans were gathering in hopes of escaping before the last US cargo planes took off over the Hindu Kush.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Biden in his speech on Sunday would recognize the impact of the 2001 attacks on the United States and the world and honor the nearly 3,000 people killed that day when Al – Al-Qaeda hijackers took control of airliners and crashed them into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

“I think you’ll hear him talk about how America can stay alert to the threat but also look to future threats and challenges and learn how to meet those threats and challenges,” Kirby said.

Biden marked the one-year anniversary of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan late last month in a low-key manner. He made a statement honoring the 13 US troops killed in the Kabul airport bombing and spoke over the phone to US veterans who support ongoing efforts to resettle Afghans in the United States who are serving in the contributed to the war effort.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday criticized Biden’s handling of the end of the war, noting that the country has tumbled under renewed Taliban rule since the US pulled out.

“Now, a year after the catastrophe of last August, the devastating magnitude of the fallout from President Biden’s decision has come into sharper focus,” McConnell said. “Afghanistan has become a global outcast. Its economy has shrunk by almost a third. Half of its population now suffers from critical food insecurity.”

First Lady Jill Biden will address the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Sunday. Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband attended a memorial ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial in New York.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Biden honors 9/11 victims as a shadow of the Afghan war

Laura Coffey

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