Biden to Speak on Afghanistan Crisis

Biden to Speak on Afghanistan Crisis

U.S. President Joe Biden will address the American public on the crisis in Afghanistan Monday, in his first public comments since the Taliban took full control of the South Asian country.

Biden will travel back to the White House from Camp David Monday – a day after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan as Taliban fighters reached the Afghan capital Kabul. He is set to speak at 3:45 EDT.

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Biden has consistently defended his decision to pull all U.S. troops from the country by August 31.

“One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country,” Biden said in his statement on Saturday. “And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”

The Taliban intensified attacks since the start of May, when U.S. and NATO allies began pulling their last remaining troops from Afghanistan.  A Taliban offensive saw them capture provincial capitals and sweep through most of the country in a little more than a week, culminating with the collapse of the Afghan government.

The U.S. has retained control of the Hamid Karzai airport in Kabul, but chaos has ensued as thousands try to flee the country.

Biden was briefed Monday on the situation ahead of his remarks. “This morning, the President was briefed by his national security team, including the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman Milley, on the security situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, and ongoing efforts to safely evacuate American citizens, U.S. Embassy personnel and local staff, SIV applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans,” the White House said.

Even as the Biden administration has defended its decision to leave Afghanistan, it has expressed shock at how quickly the country fell to the Taliban.

“It is certainly the case that the speed with which cities fell was much greater than anyone anticipated,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC’s Today show.

Several Republican lawmakers have sharply criticized the administration over the chaos in Afghanistan.  

Some information in this report came from the Associated Press.

Voice of America

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