US President Biden Defends Leaving Afghanistan
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – U.S. President Joe Biden said Monday that the takeover of Afghanistan by the Islamist Taliban group went more quickly than anticipated. Still, he defended his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the war-torn country. “American troops should not die in a war that Afghans are not willing to fight for themselves,” he told the nation in televised remarks from the White House.
“We have given them every tool they need. We paid their salaries; we gave them air support,” he said, referring to the Afghan military and government.
Biden added that looking to the current chaos, “I will not hand over this responsibility to the next president. I am deeply saddened, but I do not regret ending the operation.” The president stressed that “Killing [al-Qaida leader] Osama bin Laden was a success but remaking a nation was not. This [staying in Afghanistan] is not in our national security interest.” Because, “We did it in Vietnam, [during the Vietnam War] but I will not do that in Afghanistan,” Biden explained.
The president said tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan, including killings, happen because “Afghan leaders could not come together.” He claimed China and Russia “would love nothing more” than that the United States keeps focused with vital resources on fragile Afghanistan.
He said he had told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani previously to clean up corruption and other ills in society, but he declined. Instead, the Afghan leader left, leaving Afghanistan to the Islamist Taliban group.
Biden addressed critics questioning his decisions. “How many generations of daughters and sons would you want me to send there? I will not repeat mistakes we made in the past,” Biden said. “We have significant vital interests elsewhere.”
However, President Biden reportedly “overruled” top United States military commanders when he authorized the complete withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. Well-informed sources said Sunday that in ordering the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Biden was ignoring the advice of top military commanders, who suggested retaining a nominal force in the nation to help maintain security.
President Biden acknowledged Monday that scenes such as desperate Afghans clinging onto leaving American military planes and falling to their death are horrific, and “for those who lost loved ones, this is deeply personal.”
He said he traveled four times to Afghanistan and would “continue to support the Afghan people.” He stressed that he would continue to speak out for human rights, including of girls and women in Afghanistan.
He explained that 6,000 U.S. troops would be involved in evacuating thousands of Americans, loyal Afghans, and civilian personnel of allies. “Already 2,000 Afghans have been evacuated and their families.”
He claimed the chaos was partly due to “Afghans who did not want to leave initially,” hoping that their country would still avoid a Taliban takeover. The president also accused the outgoing government of discouraging evacuations.
Biden warned the Taliban not to intervene in evacuations saying, “If they attack our personnel, we will attack with full force.”
He said the military operation would end in a short time. “Once we have concluded this mission, we will end America’s longest war.”
He said his national security team was closely following the situation. “We went to Afghanistan with clear goals that included degrading Al-Qaida. Our mission was never to be about nation-building or building a democracy. The mission was about counter-terrorism.”
He said America should “focus on today’s threats, not yesterday’s threats.”
Biden blamed his predecessor Donald J. Trump for striking a deal with the Taliban and reducing forces from 15,500 to 2,500. “The choice I had to make was whether to continue with that agreement or bring in new troops.
The option was to send thousands more into Afghanistan and go into the third decade of war.”
He asked God’s blessings over the troops.
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