UNITED STATES: President Joe Biden said he stands “squarely” behind the U.S. exit from Afghanistan as he faces massive criticism over the Taliban’s spreading tentacles throughout Afghanistan.
On Monday, President Biden offered a defiant defense of his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, blaming the swift collapse of the Afghan government and chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport on the inability of the country’s military to stand and fight in the face of the ruthless Taliban.
“How many more American lives is it worth?” asked the Democratic president.
He said that despite the “messy” pullout, “there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces”.
On Monday, in his first public remarks on Afghanistan in nearly a week – “If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision,” said Biden.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”
“We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries. Provided for the maintenance of their airplanes,” Biden said. “We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide was the will to fight for that future.”
Biden rejected criticism from allies and adversaries, insisting that his administration had planned for the possibility of a rapid Taliban takeover and expressing pride that diplomats and other Americans had been evacuated to relative safety at the airport.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” he said, adding that he would not “shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today.”
He directed a question to critics of the withdrawal, asking, “How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghans — Afghanistan’s civil war, when Afghan troops will not?”
On Sunday, the Taliban declared victory after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled and his government collapsed.
The militants’ return to rule brings an end to almost 20 years of a US-led coalition’s presence in the country.
Kabul was the last major city in Afghanistan to fall to a Taliban offensive that began months ago but gained victory faster than expected in recent days as they gained control of territories.
In other news, on Monday Biden vowed again to rescue thousands of Afghans who had helped Americans during the two-decade conflict. And thousands of Afghans with dual American citizenship remained unaccounted for amid reports of revenge attacks by the Taliban as they seized control.