U.S. President Joe Biden gave a forceful defense of his decision to pull troops from Afghanistan as critics question the chaotic final chapter of the nation's longest war.
"I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit," he said at the White House in his first public speech since the last U.S. troops left Afghanistanm CNBC reported.
"Leaving Aug. 31st is not due to an arbitrary deadline. It was designed to save American lives," Biden said. "The bottom line is that there is no evacuation from the end of a war that you can run without the kind of complexities, challenges and threats that we faced. None."
Reflecting on the past 20 years, Biden said it was important to learn from what he viewed as two key mistakes made in Afghanistan: the lack of a mission with "clear, achievable goals" and the absence of a focus on "the fundamental national security interest of the United States of America."