WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Tuesday rejected criticism of his decision to stay to a deadline to tug out of Afghanistan in the week , a move that left 100 to 200 Americans within the country along side thousands of US-aligned Afghan citizens.
In a televised address from the White House state dining room, Biden criticised the ousted Afghan government’s inability to fight back against swift Taliban advances, which forced the us and its Nato allies into a hasty and humiliating exit, and highlighted the role played by former President Donald Trump.
The deal brokered by Trump authorised “the release of 5,000 prisoners last year, including a number of the Taliban’s top war commanders, among those that just took control”, Biden said.
“By the time I came to office, the Taliban was in its strongest position since 2001, controlling or contesting nearly half the country,” he said.
There is nothing low-grade, low-risk, or low-cost about any war. It was time to end the war in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/jAGbWnBzol
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 1, 2021
Officials believe 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan “with some intention to leave”, Biden said. He said most of these who remained were dual citizens and long-time residents who earlier had decided to remain , adding the us decided to urge them out.
Many lawmakers had called on Biden to increase the Aug 31 deadline to permit more Americans and Afghans to flee , but Biden said it had been “not an arbitrary deadline”, but one “designed to save lots of lives”.
“I take responsibility for the choice . Now some say we should always have started mass evacuations sooner and couldn’t this are wiped out a more orderly manner. I respectfully disagree,” said Biden.
Even if evacuations had begun in June or July, he said, “there still would are a rush to the airport” by people eager to leave.
The departure of the last US troops from Afghanistan in the week because the Taliban took over caps 20 years of military involvement that Biden decided to finish .
While most Americans agreed with him, that end has not come smoothly. Biden’s presidency, which had been focused on fighting the coronavirus pandemic and rebuilding the economy, now faces political probes over the handling of the withdrawal also because the logistical challenge of finding new homes for thousands of Afghans being moved to US military bases.
Biden also must deal with a surge in coronavirus infections, disasters like hurricanes and wildfires, and a series of inauspicious deadlines for getting spending measures through Congress.
Republicans and a few Democrats have expressed frustration and anger at the rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban and what they see as a botched withdrawal.
Republicans are expected to use the crisis to undertake to derail Biden’s policy and legislative agenda and as a point within the mid-term elections next year.