President Joe Biden has defended his resolution to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan regardless of the Taliban’s swift takeover of the nation, saying the United States mission “was never supposed to be about nation-building”.
In his first feedback since the Taliban took management of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Biden stated on Monday that the collapse of the Afghan authorities amid the Taliban’s fast advance “did unfold more quickly than we anticipated”.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden stated within the televised handle, nevertheless.
“If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision. 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.”
Biden’s feedback come after chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, the place hundreds of Afghans have gathered in a determined try to depart the nation amid the Taliban’s fast advance.
The group on Sunday took over the Afghan presidential palace in Kabul, in addition to districts throughout the town, simply hours after President Ashraf Ghani fled, a move he later stated aimed to stop additional bloodshed however was slammed by Afghans as “unpatriotic and unhappy“.
Desperate makes an attempt to flee
Videos shared on social media on Monday confirmed teams of individuals working alongside a US navy jet because it ready to depart from the airport within the capital. Another clip appeared to indicate a minimum of two folks falling from the sky after the airplane had taken off.
US officers have stated they continue to be dedicated to evacuating Afghans, together with those that aided the nation’s navy throughout its years-long mission within the nation and have been accepted for a particular immigration visa.
But refugee advocates have urged the Biden administration to behave rapidly as issues are rising that Afghans who labored with the US could possibly be focused for violence underneath a Taliban-led authorities.
The group’s fast advance throughout Afghanistan in current weeks noticed it seize 26 of the nation’s 34 provincial capitals earlier than it entered Kabul.
The US and different international international locations had been dashing to fly diplomatic personnel out of the capital, however a US defence official instructed the Reuters information company that the US had quickly halted all evacuation flights to clear folks from the airfield.
The Biden administration has confronted criticism for a “hasty withdrawal” of troops, with some – together with Republican lawmakers, particularly – drawing parallels to the US exit from Saigon in 1975 on the finish of the Vietnam War.
“President Biden’s decisions have us hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975,” prime Republican Senator Mitch McConnell stated in an announcement final week.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected that comparability, insisting that the US mission in Afghanistan was successful. “Remember, this is not Saigon,” Blinken instructed CNN on Sunday. “We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission, and that mission was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11 – and we have succeeded in that mission.”
Biden in July moved ahead the deadline to withdraw US troops from the nation, pledging that each one forces can be out of Afghanistan by the tip of August. But the US has been compelled to bolster its troop deployment for the withdrawal effort, with about 6,000 troopers now guarding the evacuation.
Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane, reporting from the Pentagon in Washington, DC on Monday, stated the US navy has taken over command of Afghan airspace.
“But they can’t get any planes in or out until they get the people off the runways and the tarmac,” she reported, including that the US is attempting to get one other 500 troopers in to assist with the evacuation, however that can’t occur until the airfield is evident.
The US has stated it plans to evacuate 22,000 Afghans with particular immigrant visas and their relations – a course of that’s anticipated to take a number of days, with about 5,000 folks evacuated each day – however that has but to start, Culhane stated.
“There’s another big concern; the embassy is telling the people who worked with the US that are now being hunted by the Taliban to shelter in place … But if they can’t get through the Taliban checkpoints, it’s unlikely they’re going to be able to get to the airport.”
‘Never about nation-building’
In his speech, Biden harassed that withdrawing from Afghanistan was considered one of his presidential marketing campaign guarantees and stated he opposed the Pentagon’s advice for a surge in US troops to the nation in 2009, when he served as President Barack Obama’s deputy.
“This is not in our national security interest,” he stated of infinite US involvement in what he known as an Afghan civil warfare.
“Our mission Afghanistan was never supposed to be about nation-building. It was never supposed to be to create a unified, centralised democracy. Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been – preventing a terrorist attack on [the] American homeland.”
But criticism continues within the US capital. John Brennan, who acted as CIA director underneath Obama, stated whereas he didn’t know what intelligence assessments had been despatched to the White House by way of how rapidly issues may unravel, “clearly they have”.
“And it’s because of the tremendous dependency that the Afghans had on the US system of support,” Brennan stated in an interview with MSNBC on Monday. “And clearly, that was underestimated on the part of the administration.”
Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, affiliate professor of public and worldwide affairs on the University of Pittsburgh, instructed Al Jazeera that – though she broadly agreed with Biden’s insurance policies over Afghanistan – she was “shocked” by his speech.
“There was a refusal here to acknowledge the scope of the humanitarian crisis that is taking shape in Kabul right now and throughout the country,” she stated.
“He says the buck stops with him but blamed everyone else. It can be true that other people deserve blame here, but so does the United States. I just thought the speech was quite inhumane in terms of of thinking about the people of Afghanistan.”
Murtazashvili stated most of the folks on the airport labored for the US and fear they are going to be focused by the Taliban, however Biden didn’t acknowledge that.
“The people who are clinging to US aircraft for dear life are fearful for their lives because they were part of our mission – they were part of an American family. And for such inhumane discussion of them – he just seems to have such deep disdain for the people of Afghanistan and I can’t understand it.”