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Stand Squarely Behind Afghanistan Pull-Out, Says Joe Biden Amid Criticism

Stand Squarely Behind Afghanistan Pull-Out, Says Joe Biden Amid Criticism

“The mission in Afghanistan was by no means speculated to be nation-building,” Joe Biden mentioned

President Joe Biden broke days of silence Monday on the chaotic American pullout from Afghanistan, doubling down on his choice as he fired scorching criticism on the nation’s former Western-backed management for failing to withstand the Taliban.

“I stand squarely behind my choice. After 20 years, I’ve realized the laborious manner that there was by no means time to withdraw US forces,” he mentioned in a televised handle from the White Home.

As photos of chaos and desperation beamed in from Kabul, the place American troopers had been attempting to mount an evacuation from the airport whereas Taliban fighters flooded town, Biden mentioned: “The buck stops with me.”

Disregarding criticism that the evacuation is a debacle, he mentioned the precedence is to cease a struggle that had expanded far past its initially modest objectives of punishing the Taliban for hyperlinks to Al-Qaeda after 9/11.

“Our mission in Afghanistan was by no means speculated to have been nation-building,” he mentioned, vowing that regardless of the departure of US troops anti-terrorism operations would proceed.

Biden mentioned “1000’s” of US residents and Afghans who had labored with American forces are to be evacuated over the approaching days. He threatened a “devastating” navy response if the Taliban launch assaults within the meantime.

Underlining his present of confidence, Biden left the White Home quickly after the speech to return to his weekend retreat at Camp David. He had flown into Washington simply hours earlier to present the speech after coming beneath strain to handle the nation.

Blaming the Afghans

Whereas Biden mentioned he took accountability for the destiny of the US mission, he lashed out on the former Afghan authorities and navy commanders who had been put in place, organized and supported by Washington over the past 20 years.

As an alternative of standing as much as the advancing Taliban — a extremely skilled guerrilla drive however extra evenly armed than the US-supplied Afghan military — the federal government fled.

“We gave them each likelihood to find out their very own future. We couldn’t present them the need to battle for that future,” Biden mentioned.

Partly acknowledging the shocking suddenness of the ultimate Taliban assault, Biden mentioned “this did unfold extra rapidly than we had anticipated.”

However quite than dwell on the stunning scenes of Afghans mobbing the airport or reply to criticism that the White Home was unprepared, Biden hammered dwelling his wider message that ending the struggle is what issues.

“Our true strategic opponents, China and Russia, would love nothing greater than america to proceed to funnel billions of {dollars} in sources and a focus into stabilizing Afghanistan indefinitely,” he mentioned.

Biden mentioned he was “left once more to ask of those that argue that we must always keep: what number of extra generations of America’s daughters and sons would you’ve me ship to battle Afghans — Afghanistan’s civil struggle — when Afghan troops is not going to?”

Political injury

Biden had been on a political roll till this final week.

Defying those that mentioned Washington had change into too dysfunctional for bipartisan dealmaking, Biden was celebrating the passage by the evenly divided Senate of his $1.2 trillion infrastructure invoice. His Democrats had been beginning to work on a second, mind-bogglingly bold $3.5 trillion invoice.

And it was only some weeks in the past that Biden was congratulating People for his or her Covid vaccination charges — a seeming victory over the coronavirus that the rising Delta variant has now put in peril.

Just like the pandemic, Afghanistan was a disaster that Biden inherited.

The US public has lengthy misplaced curiosity within the preventing there and Trump tapped into highly effective isolationist sentiment with a drive to extricate the nation from “silly” post-9/11 wars.

In contrast to on most different issues, Biden agreed together with his Republican predecessor.

In truth, Biden’s pullout relies nearly totally on a plan set in movement by Trump himself, who ordered negotiations with the Taliban and, if reelected, had been teeing up an excellent earlier exit.

However Biden now owns the fallout and what he had hoped could be a optimistic, if somber, event has change into a political nightmare, with critics elevating the Kabul mess as an indication of failed management.

“Opposite to his claims, our alternative was not between a hasty and ill-prepared retreat or staying perpetually,” Senator Mitt Romney mentioned.

One other Republican senator, Ben Sasse, was harsher, calling Biden’s speech “shameful” and the evacuation a present of “weak point and betrayal.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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