Biden blames Afghan army, leaders for situation in Afghanistan
Despite the chaos in Kabul, US President Joe Biden has said he stands firm behind the decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan and blamed the Afghan army and leaders for the current situation.
While breaking the silence on the withdrawal of US troops after several days of televised scenes, he blamed the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the US-trained Afghan army who did not fight the Taliban.
At the same time, he did not hesitate to criticize the overthrown Western-backed government in Kabul, saying the US military could not defend a nation whose leaders, such as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, “gave up and fled”.
“We have given them every opportunity to determine their own future. We cannot encourage them to fight for their future,” Biden said.
“Our mission in Afghanistan has never been to build a nation,” he added.
At the same time, he warned Taliban leaders that they would face “devastating force” if they interfered in the US withdrawal.
Biden was thought to have been forced to send US troops back to Kabul for the safe evacuation of US diplomats and civilians, as well as Afghans working with the United States who could face retaliation.
Joe Biden’s prediction of a Taliban takeover did not inevitably lead to a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which hurt America’s image.
The withdrawal also raises fears that militant groups such as al-Qaeda could re-emerge under the Taliban government.
Rejecting criticism of Afghan policy, the US president said: “I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said in a televised speech at the White House. “After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces. That’s why we’re still there.”
Joe Biden said he had seen some scenes of chaos in Kabul that were unpleasant but did not begin the evacuation soon because Ashraf Ghani did not want large-scale wages.
He acknowledged that the Taliban’s move to retake the country was unexpected.
The Taliban’s rapid advance stunned US officials, who predicted that the Afghan army would either repel the militants or hold them back for months.
He named two Afghan leaders, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of the Afghan Reconciliation Council, and said he had rejected their suggestion of a political settlement with the Taliban.
“American troops cannot — and should not — be fighting and dying in a war that Afghan forces are by and large not willing to fight and die in themselves.”
He added “I know my decision on Afghanistan will be criticized. But I would rather take all that criticism than pass this responsibility on to yet another president. It’s the right one for our people, for the brave service members who risk their lives serving our nation, and for America.”
Our current military mission in Afghanistan will be short in time and focused in its objectives: Get our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible. pic.twitter.com/eSESK5QR09
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 17, 2021
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