Biden: Afghan chaos ‘gut-wrenching’ but stands by withdrawal

2 months ago 16
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Hundreds of radical tally alongside a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport level arsenic it moves down a runway of the planetary airport, successful Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug.16. 2021. Thousands of Afghans person rushed onto the tarmac of Kabul’s planetary airport, immoderate truthful hopeless to flight the Taliban seizure of their state that they held onto an American subject pitchy arsenic it took disconnected and plunged to death. (Verified UGC via AP)

A defiant President Joe Biden rejected blasted for chaotic scenes of Afghans clinging to U.S. subject planes successful Kabul successful a hopeless bid to fly their location state aft the Taliban’s casual triumph implicit an Afghan subject that America and NATO allies had spent 2 decades trying to build.

At the White House, Biden connected Monday called the anguish of trapped Afghan civilians “gut-wrenching” and conceded the Taliban had achieved a overmuch faster takeover of the state than his medication had expected. The U.S. rushed successful troops to support its ain evacuating diplomats and others astatine the Kabul airport.

But the president expressed nary 2nd thoughts astir his determination to instrumentality by the U.S. commitment, formulated during the Trump administration, to extremity America’s longest war, nary substance what.

“I basal squarely down my decision” to yet retreat U.S. combat forces, Biden said, portion acknowledging the Afghan illness played retired acold much rapidly than the astir pessimistic nationalist forecasts of his administration. “This did unfold much rapidly than we anticipated,” helium said.

Despite declaring “the subordinate stops with me,” Biden placed astir each blasted connected Afghans for the shockingly accelerated Taliban conquest.

His grim comments were his archetypal successful idiosyncratic to the satellite since the biggest overseas argumentation situation of his still-young presidency. Emboldened by the U.S. withdrawal, Taliban fighters swept crossed the state past week and captured the capital, Kabul, connected Sunday, sending U.S.-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the country.

Biden said helium had warned Ghani — who was appointed Afghanistan’s president successful a U.S.-negotiated statement — to beryllium prepared to combat a civilian warfare with the Taliban aft U.S. forces left. “They failed to bash immoderate of that,” helium said.

Internationally, the spectacle of the Taliban takeover and the chaos of the evacuation effort was raising doubts astir America’s commitments to its allies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it was “bitter” to ticker the implicit illness successful a warfare that Germany and different NATO partners had followed the U.S. into aft the Sept. 11 attacks, which were plotted from Afghanistan. The humiliating scenes seemed definite to springiness comfortableness to American foes.

At home, it each sparked crisp criticism, adjacent from members of Biden’s ain governmental party, who implored the White House to bash much to rescue fleeing Afghans, particularly those who had aided the two-decade American subject effort.

“We didn’t request to beryllium seeing the scenes that we’re seeing astatine Kabul airdrome with our Afghan friends climbing aboard C-17s,” said Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat and Iraq and Afghanistan subject veteran.

He said that is wherefore helium and others called for the evacuations to commencement months ago. “It could person been done deliberately and methodically,” Crow said. “And we deliberation that that was a missed opportunity.”

Besides the life-and-death concern successful Kabul, the timing of the situation was unfortunate for Biden’s home efforts astatine home. It could good weaken his governmental lasting arsenic helium works to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and physique legislature enactment for a $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure and an adjacent larger enlargement of the societal information net.

Still, the absorption astatine location and overseas connected Monday was connected Kabul’s airport, wherever thousands of Afghans trapped by the abrupt Taliban takeover rushed the tarmac and clung to U.S. subject planes deployed to alert retired staffers of the U.S. Embassy, which unopen down Sunday, and others.

At slightest 7 radical died in the chaos, including 2 who clung to the wheels of a C-17 and plunged to the tarmac arsenic it flew away, and 2 others changeable by U.S. forces. Americans said the men were equipped but determination was nary grounds that they were Taliban.

With tens of thousands of U.S. citizens and others arsenic good arsenic Afghans hopeless to escape, Biden insisted the U.S. had done each it could to plan.

In fact, Afghan leaders had asked the U.S. not to publically play up immoderate beforehand efforts to evacuate erstwhile subject translators, pistillate activists and others astir astatine hazard from the Taliban, saying that successful itself could trigger what the Afghans said could beryllium “a situation of confidence,” Biden said.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Tuesday during tv interviews that plans were being made to location up to 22,000 evacuated Afghans and their families astatine 3 U.S. subject installations successful the continental United States. He did not sanction the locations.

Kirby added that the U.S. was successful complaint of aerial postulation astatine the Kabul airport, wherever subject and immoderate commercialized flights had resumed aft they were suspended for a play of clip connected Monday amid a stampede onto runways by frightened Afghans.

Kirby said U.S. forces program to wrapper up their oversight of the evacuation by Aug. 31, besides the day Biden has acceptable for officially ending the U.S. combat relation successful Afghanistan.

The U.S. hopes to alert retired up to 5,000 radical a time erstwhile the afloat deployment of 6,000 U.S. troops get to unafraid the evacuation, and erstwhile much transport planes tin land, helium said.

Biden pledged to enactment to besides evacuate backstage U.S. citizens and citizens of overseas governments, arsenic good arsenic Afghans who formerly worked with Americans successful the country, journalists, salient women and different Afghans considered astir at-risk of Taliban reprisal.

As of July, the U.S. had a visa exertion backlog of 18,000 erstwhile Afghan employees unsocial who were seeking a haven successful the United States, and had been capable to evacuate lone a fewer 1000 successful what was meant to beryllium a sped-up process implicit the past month.

Veterans groups and nonprofit groups that worked with Afghan women appealed to Biden connected Monday to support troops astatine the Kabul airdrome astatine slightest done the extremity of the month, to support the flight way retired of Taliban hands.

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