Joe Biden praises ‘success’ of Afghanistan evacuation
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President Biden has faced a barrage of criticism over his decision to suddenly withdraw US troops from Afghanistan following the takeover by the Taliban. The 78-year-old stuck to his August 31 deadline for evacuations and now hundreds of Americans have been left stranded in Afghanistan.
One administration official has since spoken out and condemned the non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) overseen by the under fire Commander-in-Chief.
They told Politico: “I am absolutely appalled and literally horrified we left Americans there.
“It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO, and we have failed that no-fail mission.”
Another White House official said the operation cannot be seen as complete if US citizens have not returned home.
Meanwhile, US Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the departure had abandoned Americans behind enemy lines.
He said: “We are less safe as a result of this self-inflicted wound.”
Speaking on Tuesday, President Biden said he took “responsibility” for his decisions on Afghanistan.
He hailed the two-week military operation as an “extraordinary success”, after more than 120,000 people, including 5,500 Americans, were evacuated from Afghanistan.
President Biden insisted the logistical success of the mission would have been just as messy if it had been launched earlier, while staying in the country would have required committing more American troops.
At a briefing from the White House, he said: “I was not going to extend this forever war.”
Around 5,000 US personnel were deployed to Kabul airport to assist in the rescue efforts and sadly 13 were killed by a horrific terror attack in the capital on August 26.
President Biden acknowledged between 100 and 200 US citizens still remained in Afghanistan.
However, he insisted the US had leverage over the Taliban to ensure they could come back.
The US President also stated Americans were given “multiple warnings and offers to help them leave Afghanistan, all the way back as far as March”.
The war in Afghanistan began in 2001 following the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington.
The 20-year battle claimed the lives of nearly 2,500 US troops and an estimated 240,000 Afghans.
President Biden said: “This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan.
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“It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries.”
He added: “The fundamental obligation of a President is to defend America.
“Not against the threats of 2001, but against the threats of 2021 and tomorrow.
“I do not believe the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops in Afghanistan.”
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