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Biden says unlikely that US troops will remain in Afghanistan next year

Biden says unlikely that US troops will remain in Afghanistan next year
March 25, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Thursday said it will be hard for the United States to meet the May 1 deadline to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan but said he did not think the U.S. soldiers would still be in the country next year.

Speaking at his first formal press conference in the White House as the President, Biden was asked if it was possible there would be U.S troops in Afghanistan next year. He said: “I can’t picture, that being the case.”

President Joe Biden said he expects to run for president again in 2024 and defended his policy to provide shelter to unaccompanied children crossing the US border from Mexico at his first solo news conference since taking office.

Biden also set a new goal of administering 200 million vaccination shots against COVID-19 in the United States in his first 100 days in office and claimed economic progress as he held his first solo news conference since taking office.

He warned North Korea of consequences for launching two ballistic missiles on Thursday and said he was consulting with U.S. allies on the way forward.

At 78 years old, many political analysts believe Biden could decide to serve only one term. But asked whether he planned to run for re-election, he said this was his plan, and would keep Vice President Kamala Harris as his running mate.

“My answer is yes, I plan to run for re-election. That’s my expectation,” he said.

Struggling to contain a surge in border crossings, Biden told reporters that no previous administration had refused care and shelter to children coming over from Mexico - except that of his predecessor, Donald Trump.

“I’m not going to do it,” Biden said, noting he had selected Harris to lead diplomatic efforts with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador aimed at stemming the migration flow.

Appearing in the White House East Room, Biden said his initial goal of administering 100 million vaccination shots in his first 100 days in office was reached last week, 42 days ahead of schedule.

“I know it’s ambitious, twice our original goal, but no other country in the world has even come close,” the Democratic president said.