If one American who wanted to get out of Afghanistan was not airlifted out because of some arbitrary deadline, then shame on President Joe Biden.

The Associated Press reported this week that more than 100 Americans and thousands of others, including many who aided the U.S. cause in that worn-torn nation over the past two decades, were left behind.

Americans, dating back to Lexington and Concord, don’t leave people behind.

“I was not going to extend this forever war,” the president said this week. “And I was not going to extend a forever exit.”

Biden decided he was going to end America’s longest war. In doing so, Biden did what three of his predecessors failed to do. George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump all could have gotten the U.S. out of Afghanistan earlier.

For being the one to say enough is enough, Biden deserves credit. It was time; it was probably time to get most of the troops out of there after Osama bin Laden was killed a decade ago.

There is a separate case to be made that America should always maintain even a small military presence in Afghanistan — U.S. troops are still deployed in some areas decades after other wars have ended. Biden argued the U.S. has not had a military casualty in Afghanistan since February 2020, so it was time to leave.

But Biden has been justly and loudly criticized for the implementation and execution of a hasty and chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops and the extraction of more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and other allies. That was true even before last week’s deadly terror attacks on the Kabul airport killed 13 American service members and 169 Afghans. You can argue the justification of pulling out; it was haphazardly executed in a manner that put more lives at risk to meet a deadline set by a “government” no one can and should trust.

“The bottom line: 90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” Biden said. “For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out, if they want to come out.”

If that is the case, get them out now.

Biden said Tuesday “the war in Afghanistan is over.”

That doesn’t mean the mission is over.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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