According to the White House, President Biden will address the nation on his decision not to extend the U.S. presence in Afghanistan beyond August 31. The White House also thanked the military for its performance in the evacuation of some 120,000 people.

President Biden had previously stated that using Kabul airport was the unanimous decision of the Joint Chiefs and commanders on the ground. In this latest White House statement, the president said that the Joint Chiefs were also unanimous in not extending U.S. presence in the country beyond August 31.

The agreement between President Trump and the Taliban for the withdrawal of U.S. troops by May 1 had a series of conditions that had to be met by the Taliban for the agreement to remain in force.

By the time President Biden was elected, U.S. forces had drawn down to 2,500, the lowest since 2001. This was in spite of reports that the Taliban were not living up to their end of the agreement, specifically in regard to not harboring al-Qaeda terrorists and refraining from attacking Afghan government forces.

It is not evident that President Biden made any plans to evacuate U.S. forces or our Afghan allies in order to keep to the May 1 withdrawal deadline. Yet, he did make statements indicating that he intended to not keep to the U.S. side of the agreement and saying we would remain in Afghanistan beyond May 1.

Just weeks before the May 1 withdrawal deadline, President Biden repudiated the agreement saying that the withdrawal date of U.S. forces would now be September 11, more than four months past the deadline. President Biden did not cite a lack of compliance by the Taliban as the reason for the extension. In fact, the administration made it clear that conditions on the ground made no difference in selecting the September 11 date.

Administration officials said to the Associated Press on April 14, 2021, that decision to leave would be followed no matter what the Taliban did since a conditioned withdrawal would result in U.S. forces staying in Afghanistan forever.

In light of the facts stated above, claims by the Biden administration that they “inherited a mess” left by President Trump appear to be false. President Biden had from January 20 until May 1 to plan the orderly, dignified, and complete withdrawal of U.S. forces and Afghan allies from the country while the Afghan government was still in relative control of the country. He elected not to do so. The choice of a September 11th withdrawal seems to have been nothing more than a date for a good photo op.