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Biden orders U.S. departure from Afghanistan to be complete by September 11

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia says, "The American military has done what it can."

WASHINGTON — It goes down as America's longest war.

2,353 Americans have been killed in action there.

Twenty years later, it is finally coming to an end.

"I've concluded it's time to end America's longest war," said President Joe Biden on Wednesday. "It's time for American troops to come home."

It all began in the days immediately after 9/11.

13 News Now was there, aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt as the Navy launched the first combat strikes.

"Yes, I think we're doing the right thing," a TR pilot told us at the time. "And I'm feeling very good about getting an opportunity to strike back."

A TR sailor echoed that sentiment.

"We've got to do what we've got to do, to wipe this out so we can be free again in America," he said in October of 2001.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) said Wednesday that he supports Biden's decision to leave Afghanistan.

"After 20 years, the American military has done what it can do," he said. "And, 21, or 25, or  30 or 50 years isn't going to appreciably change the dynamic."

Others at a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee urged caution. 

"I think any withdrawal that takes place in that country must be conducted in a manner that is coordinated among our military, diplomatic, and intelligence partners and with close coordination with our NATO allies," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia).

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said the U.S. departure will leave a void.

"You know, I think we have to be clear-eyed about the reality, looking at the potential terrorism in Afghanistan both al Qaida and ISIS remain intent on recovering the ability to attack U.S. targets, whether it's in the region, in the West or, ultimately, in the homeland," he said.

U.S. forces will begin their draw-down on May 1.

The end date for U.S. troops to depart is a symbolic one: September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, which brought American forces into Afghanistan in the first place.

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