In the midst of the chaos at the Kabul airport, President Biden delivered a speech defending his decision to end the almost 20-year war in Afghanistan, saying he stands “squarely” behind his decision.
“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces,” he said.
Biden explained how he inherited the US-Taliban peace deal signed in February 2020. Under the agreement, the Taliban agreed not to attack foreign troops in exchange for all foreign forces to leave the country by May 1st. Since the deal was signed, no US troops have died in combat in Afghanistan.
“The choice I had to make … was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. There would have been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1,” he said.
Biden technically broke the deal by pushing back the May 1st withdrawal deadline to September 11th, which he then changed to August 31st. The Taliban appeared to accept the new date and has not attacked any foreign troops. But the Taliban’s offensive against the Afghan government intensified after May 1st, leading to the fall of Kabul before Biden could complete his withdrawal.
Biden admitted that the Taliban’s rapid gains and the fall of Kabul happened quicker than the US expected and placed much of the blame on the US-backed government and the now-former president of the country, Ashraf Ghani.
“So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision,” he said.
Biden said he warned Ghani that the Afghan military would have to fight after US troops left. He also urged the Afghan leader to seek a political solution with the Taliban, advice Biden said was refused. “Mr. Ghani insisted that the Afghan forces would fight. But obviously, he was wrong,” Biden said.
The Biden administration initially had plans to leave about 650 troops in Afghanistan that would be based out of the embassy in Kabul. But now, the embassy is evacuated, and about 6,000 US troops are being deployed to the Kabul airport to airlift civilian personnel and Afghan allies out of the country. Biden said once the evacuation is complete, the US military will withdraw.
“Our current military mission will be short in time, limited in scope, and focused on its objectives. Get our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible. And once we’ve completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal. We will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed,” he said.
While Biden seems determined to end the war in Afghanistan, he made it clear the Pentagon has its sights on other countries. He said the so-called “terrorist threat” has expanded beyond Afghanistan and cited al-Shabaab in Somalia, al-Nusra in Syria, and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Biden recently escalated the air war against al-Shabaab, bombing Somalia three times after a long pause in airstrikes. The president also cited China and Russia, who he called “our true strategic competitors,” as a reason to leave Afghanistan.
31 thoughts on “Biden Defends Afghanistan Withdrawal: ‘I Stand Squarely Behind My Decision’”
Biden/Harris is a total disaster. Go to the polls in 22 and vote out the Democrats. Cast your ballot in ’24 for Donald Trump, greatest POTUS in American history!
I’m confused. Should I cast my ballot in ’24 for Trump, or for the greatest POTUS in American history (Grover Cleveland)?
I won’t be voting for Biden, or for Trump. But I’m glad Trump got the withdrawal started and that Biden’s finishing it.
Two blistered lips from tooting his own horn.
Two broken arms from patting himself on the back.
More tax cuts for the wealthiest oligarchs like himself.
Incipient dementia noticeable.
Got the dirty but necessary job done anyway.
Credit where due.
Not the “greatest” presidential accomplishment in history, but an acceptable one. I feel like I did after I came home from Vietnam in early 1972. Glad to get my young ass out of that bloody mess and — only a few years later — happy to see the S.O.B. who sent me there, Tricky Dick Nixon, on the way towards his own overdue expulsion from American political life. Now Trump can join him in Oblivion where they both belong.
Biden is a senile racketeer, fully Empire-compliant. But the Empire will not be pleased with the Afghan withdrawal. It let’s China in, big-time.
Biden/Harris is a total disaster. Trump/Pence was a disaster. Go to the polls in 22 and vote out the Democrats and the Republicans. Cast your ballot in ’24 for a third party candidate as if your life depended on it because it does.
OH David PLEASE,Try to Think outside the left/right paradigm and its dangerous delusions that are seriously harmful to our country’s future.
The truth of the matter in America’s corrupted political landscape, is that the only difference between a Democrat and Republican, is that a Democrat uses lube before he screws you!
Not the greatest, just the best since JFK.
True. For Israel.
True, for Israel, but Trump did not ‘ do ‘ wars, except he sent a couple of dozen cruise missiles over Syria as a warning.
He bombed Afghanistan more than at any time during that war other than the initial invasion. He bombed Somalia more than Bush and Obama combined. He did a artillery barrage on Syria besides those missile attacks. And those missile attacks weren’t “over” Syria, they landed in Syria. They were also based on bullsh*t and Trump had to be talked down from doing worse. And he did plenty of warring with his sanctions on multiple countries.
Credit where it’s due: good speech. For the limited and exceptionalist landscape that he’s operating in, as good a job as one could hope for.
Now, where is this coming from? Is he freeing up staff for a bigger effort elsewhere? Is there a backroom deal with the Taliban and Pakistan? Who knows … the war is over soon and that’s worth something.
And boy is Biden getting hammered from the war mongers, left, right and center! Every full of crap feminist Afghan film director, every “Hell Yeah America!” reactionary yahoo on the internet (most of whom cheered Trump on when he cut the deal….and many of whom chastised Biden for extending the withdrawl period from May to August), and every MSM outlet (the WaPo, the NYTimes, the WS Journal, CNN, etc, etc), every neo con and neo lib, every “centrist” politico (R and D), and every big mouth veteran with a chip on his shoulder, is giving him both barrels. Biden was wrong to pull out. He lied. He handled it wrong. He didn’t listen to the “intelligence,” he cut and ran, he’s weak, he’s sleepy. What about the women? What about US “credibility?” What about the Taliban “atrocities?” What about all of our quisling/traitor collabos? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!
Biden pulled the plug on a war that was lost years ago. If not lost before it even started. What he did was better not only for the USA, but for Afghanistan too. As far as I can tell, not one US service member has died, and the transition has been remarkably bloodless even among Afghans. The whole world, in and outside of Afghanistan, is happy to see our piece of garbage, corrupt, worthless puppet regime go. But no good deed goes unpunished! The war monger reaction almost literally makes me ill!
How the Taliban paid their way to Kabul.
It’s somewhat like employing people not to work and simultaneously acquiring friends.
Great link. Thank you for posting it.
Good work president Biden. Now leave Syria.
Better do that before we get the bums rush out of Iraq or the guys in Syria will be stranded.
Um . . . So what does Biden plan to do about the thousands of American citizens and collaborators who the military advised the “shelter in place” who cannot get to the airport unassisted? Some “summer patriots”are already calling for the USA to establish “safe corridors” to the airport and to extract American and Afghan civilians from dangerous venues in and outside of Kabul. It is unlikely the Taliban will allow US troops to conduct operations outside the airport. This is how mission creep begins. I hope Biden sticks to his resolve and doesn’t slide down the slippery slope of extending military operations beyond the airport or beyond August 31st.
It’s shocking to hear some blunt truths.
This appears to have been a done deal. And from the evidence, it looks like Ghani government and Taliban had a deal. It never made sense for Government to refuse to negotiate transition. Sure, after US announced withdrawal, Ghani knew his government was no match for Taliban. And he knew that his hand was weak in negotiating with Taliban.
But by staying steadfast against any dealing, and Taliban insisting he should resign — it appeared that Ghani was assuring US that he has some allies in the north, taking even Uzbek warlord, General Dostum on the trip to Mazar-i-Sharif. That probably comforted US in believing that US forces can support Ghani Government from afar, leave some military at Embassy and airport,
It was not until inexplicably Taliban took borders and then showed up about 300 miles from Kabul that US abruptly changed strategy.
All over the horizon plans scrapped, military at the Embassy. Evacuation ordered. US suddenly had no interlocutor in Afghanistan.
And Mazar-i-Sharif, once part of Taliban’s sworn enemies, Northern Alliance, suddenly gave keys to Taliban, Ghani ending up in Tajikistan — Russia and China territory, his finance minister in London. It is quite possible that Ghani cut a deal with Taliban without letting US know. The speed was imposed upon US — with no time for any transition. Perhaps Biden benefited too. Short term he will get criticism, but long term — better off than having to endure a protracted debate on US role in Taliban Afghanistan.
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