Joe Biden defends US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Maintaining an ongoing military presence in Afghanistan was not in the United States’ national security interests, Biden said.

“I’m now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan – two Democrats and two Republicans,” Biden said.

“I will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth President.”

He said that America’s strategic rivals such as China and Russia would love the US to continue pouring resources into Afghanistan.

Saying he had always promised to be “straight” with the American people, Biden said: “The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”

He said the US had not foreseen that Afghan security forces would put up such feeble resistance against the Taliban or that Afghan leaders, including President Ashraf Ghani, would flee the country when they came under attack.

Biden said he had advised Ghani to pursue diplomatic talks with the Taliban, but his entreaties were “flatly refused”.

Biden said that the previous Trump administration had left him with limited options by signing a peace deal with the Taliban that included a May 1st deadline to withdraw all US troops from this country.

This meant Biden had to proceed with the withdrawal or increase the number of US troops in the country, he said.

Biden has come under ferocious criticism from Republicans, who said his administration had bungled the end of the war and embarrassed America on the global stage.


“This is gonna be a stain on this president and his presidency,” Republican congressman Michael McCaul said over the weekend.

“And I think he’s gonna have blood on his hands from what they did.”

Even some Democrats have expressed alarm at the haphazard nature of the US withdrawal, including delays in evacuating interpreters and other Afghans who supported the American mission.

“To say that today is anything short of a disaster would be dishonest,” Democratic congressman Seth Moulton, a marine veteran who served in Iraq, said in a statement.

Hundreds of people run alongside a US Air Force C-17 transport plane as it departs in Kabul.

Hundreds of people run alongside a US Air Force C-17 transport plane as it departs in Kabul.Credit:AP

“Worse, it was avoidable.”

Moulton continued: “The fact that, at this hour, we have not even secured the civilian half of Kabul Airport is testament to our moral and operational failure. We need to rectify this immediately.”

A Morning Consult poll, conducted as the Taliban made rapid military gains throughout Afghanistan, found that support for the US withdrawal had dropped from 69 per cent of American voters in April to 49 per cent now.

Biden was speaking after disorder unfolded at the US-controlled Kabul international airport as thousands of Afghans tried to flee the country.

At least seven people were killed at the airport, the Associated Press reported, including several Afghans who clung to the outside of a military aircraft and plunged to their death.

The Pentagon also confirmed that US troops had shot dead two people at the airport.

“All the images coming out are of concern and troubling,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

He confirmed that all military and civilian flights out of the airport had been suspended because of a security breach.

Similar Posts