The President has now confirmed the full withdrawal of the U.S. military from Afghanistan, bringing to a close the United States’ involvement in nearly 20 years of conflict. It amounts to America’s longest war. It was an intergenerational fight, and the responsibility for fighting it too often fell to the shoulders of the same service members over and over again as soldiers, sailors, and marines were asked to endure multiple tours.
To those veterans and to all service members, I want to say thank you. We, as a nation, owe a debt of gratitude we can never repay. As I think about the aftermath of 9/11 and the constant fear that we endured, worrying about another terrorist attack, I know that you ensured our safety.
In this moment, we are also grieving the last American military casualties of the war, including the 13 service members killed in an attack on Kabul International Airport just days ago. They were killed in the waning days of this conflict, carrying out a life-saving mission that evacuated more than 120,000 Americans, allies, and vulnerable Afghans. This loss of life in the final moments is nothing short of devastating, but their memory will live on in the countless lives they played a part in saving. We will honor their memory by continuing to do everything in our power to get out those who have been left behind.
I remain concerned that we have not completed our mission, and the test of our commitment will take place in the weeks and months to come. I know my country, and I know we will find a way to fulfill our promises by working to ensure everyone comes home.”