Joe Biden Plays Defense As Afghanistan Crumbles

President Joe Biden stated Monday that the gorgeous collapse of the 20-year American undertaking in Afghanistan proved he was right to finish the U.S. mission, arguing that the Taliban’s takeover of the nation vindicated his determination to carry home the U.S. troops stationed there.

“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden stated. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.” 

The president conceded that the success of the militants “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” over a two-week blitz of Taliban offensives. That won’t sway his plans, nonetheless: After the 6,000 troops Biden just lately deployed to Afghanistan evacuate Americans and U.S. allies within the coming days, “we will conclude our military withdrawal and we will end America’s longest war,” he stated.

Biden’s gamble that his protection of his coverage will resonate with Americans displays how war-weariness and skepticism of U.S. international coverage have gained floor nationally ― an enormous change from the years after the Sept. 11 terror assaults, which prompted then-U.S. leaders to invade Afghanistan, dislodge the Taliban regime, and aggressively, typically illegally, pursue different perceived nationwide safety threats. 

Earlier this yr, Biden set an Aug. 31 deadline for pulling American forces out of Afghanistan, below the phrases of a deal that former President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in 2020. Anti-war lawmakers and organizers see Biden’s determination to observe by on Trump’s plan as a significant bipartisan victory of their bid to restrain America’s propensity for pricey, brutal international army interventions.

“Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it’s always been: preventing a terrorist attack on America’s homeland,” Biden stated, including that he opposed the thought of “nation-building” to determine a Western-style democracy in Afghanistan. He famous that he was the fourth president to supervise a U.S. deployment there: “I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth president.”

Joe Biden speaks about the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on Aug. 16, 2021.

Joe Biden speaks concerning the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on Aug. 16, 2021.

He stated merely persevering with the prevailing mission was not an possibility, a view many specialists share: His reasonable selection was to both pull out or double down, given the Taliban’s energy and willingness to assault Americans if the Trump-era deal fell aside.

But the president’s speech supplied little reflection on how America had misstepped and created the situations for repressive Taliban forces to reestablish their management over hundreds of thousands of Afghans. And Biden didn’t tackle broad, bipartisan criticism of how his group has dealt with the withdrawal amid the surprisingly quick Taliban advance ― an approach that has brought about many Afghans to panic and fueled scenes of desperation at Kabul airport, presently the final American stronghold within the nation.

“Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country,” the president stated. “The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight … what we could not provide them was the will to fight for their future.” 

National safety analysts say U.S. officers ought to have realized far sooner that they had been pumping American taxpayer {dollars} right into a deeply corrupt system that many Afghans had little curiosity in defending and that they designed the Afghan army to function alongside American traces ― a crucial vulnerability as soon as the U.S. drawdown started.

Washington additionally neglected how its army operations and lack of accountability for excesses drove some Afghans into the Taliban’s arms. In Biden’s telling, the U.S. despatched troops to “fight Afghanistan’s civil war” — an absurd depiction on condition that American selections formed the struggle.

Members of Congress and humanitarian teams say that Biden should now focus intensely on Afghans who might be focused by the Taliban, reminiscent of individuals who labored with the U.S., ladies in public life and human rights activists.

Biden stated his group will work to take away the susceptible Afghans however blamed others for his or her plight.

“Some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier,” he claimed, including that Afghan officers “discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus.”

In truth, 1000’s of Afghans stay trapped in a bureaucratic backlog because the U.S. has been sluggish to course of their functions for visas regardless of the Taliban onslaught. The State Department opened up a brand new visa class for Afghan refugees this month ― however that standing is just out there to individuals who have already managed to depart Afghanistan and was introduced with little time for many eligible Afghans to use.

Focusing on what he described as a very powerful concerns to the U.S., together with different terror threats and competitors with China, Biden supplied few phrases to the Afghans and others afraid of a newly empowered Taliban ― even, as he stated, “human rights must be at the center of our foreign policy.”

“I’m deeply saddened by the facts we now face,” Biden stated. “But I do not regret my decision.”


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