On Tuesday, a defensive President Joe Biden called the U.S. Airlift to Extract More Than 120,000 Americans, Afghans, and Other Allies From Afghanistan to End a 20-year War an “extraordinary Success,” even though more than 100 Americans were lost and thousands more were left behind.
Twenty-four hours later, the last American C-17 cargo aircraft roared off Kabul. Biden addressed the nation and vigorously supported his decision to end America’s longest war and pull all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 deadline.
Biden stated from the White House that he was not going “to extend this forever war.” “And I wasn’t going to extend an forever exit.”
Biden was asked tough questions about how the U.S. left Afghanistan. It was a chaotic evacuation that saw violence and killed 13 American servicemen, as well as 169 Afghans.
His handling of the evacuation has been heavily criticised, especially by Republicans. He said that it was unavoidable that the end of two decades of war, first negotiated by President Donald Trump for May 1, would be difficult and likely violent, regardless of when it was conducted.
Biden stated, “To those who ask for a third decade in Afghanistan war, I ask: ‘What is our vital national interest?” “I don’t believe the safety or security of America can be enhanced by continuing to send thousands of American soldiers and spending billions of money in Afghanistan.”
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said that Biden had only made a “forceful assessment” after his speech.
Biden mocked Republicans and Democrats who believe the U.S. would be better off maintaining a limited military presence in Afghanistan. The U.S. had not suffered a combat loss since February 2020, when the Trump administration reached a deal with Taliban to end the war by May 2018.
Biden stated that breaking the Trump deal would have reopened a shooting war. Biden said that those who support remaining at war don’t recognize the burden of deployment. This is due to the scourge PTSD, financial difficulties, divorce, and other problems facing U.S troops.
Biden stated, “When I hear that the so-called low grade effort in Afghanistan is at low risk for our service personnel at low cost, I don’t think enough people realize how much we’ve asked the 1% of this nation to put on that uniform,”
Biden is addressing all domestic questions and is also trying to adjust to a new relationship to the Taliban, an Islamist militant group that the U.S. destroyed after the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Taliban is now in power in Afghanistan.
Biden has given Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, the task of coordinating with international partners in order to hold the Taliban accountable for their promise of safe passage to Americans and other people who wish to leave the country.
Biden stated, “We don’t just take them at their word but by their actions.” We have the power to ensure that those promises are kept.
Biden also responded to criticisms that he failed to fulfill his promise to all Americans leave the country before the U.S. military withdraws. Biden stated that many Americans who have been left behind are dual citizens and some have deep family roots, which makes it difficult for them to leave Afghanistan.
Biden stated that “the bottom line is: 90% of Americans in Afghanistan wanted to leave” There is no deadline for the remaining Americans. If they are determined to leave, we will continue to fight for their freedom.
Biden reiterated his argument that ending Afghanistan war was crucial for American foreign policy to rethink toward increasing challenges posed China and Russia, and counterterrorism concerns that present a greater threat to the U.S.
He stated that “There is nothing China or Russia would prefer, more in this competition than for the United States to be ensconced another decade in Afghanistan.”
Biden believes that the war could have been ended 10 years ago by the U.S. killing Osama Bin Laden. His al-Qaida extremist network, which planned and executed 9/11 from an Afghanistan refuge, was Biden’s point of view. Al-Qaida’s threat to the United States has been greatly diminished. The president lamented the estimated $2 trillion in taxpayer money spent on fighting the war.
Biden asked, “What have you lost in terms of opportunities?”
The public is expected to attend hearings by Congressional committees about what happened in the last months of U.S. withdrawal.
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. was the House Minority Leader and described Tuesday’s handling by the Biden administration of the evacuation as “probably a biggest failure in American governance on a military platform in my lifetime”. He promised that Republicans would press the White House to get answers.
The Senate met briefly on Tuesday with Vice President Kamala Harris as the chairperson. This was to approve a bill to increase spending for emergency assistance to U.S. citizens returning from war, illness, or other crises. The legislation was quickly signed by Biden, which increases funding for the program from $1million to $10 million.
On Tuesday morning, a group of Republican legislators gathered on the House Floor to observe a moment silence in memory of the 13 service personnel who died in the suicide bomber attack.
They also requested a House vote on legislation by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). This would, among other things, require that the administration submit a report on the number of Americans still in Afghanistan and the number of Afghans who applied for a particular category of visas reserved only for employees or agents of the U.S. government.
The GOP lawmakers protested when Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) led the House to adjournment. The lawmakers then met for a press conference in protest of the administration.
It was a mixed day for many U.S. troops and commanders who served in Afghanistan.
General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that “all of us are conflicted, with feelings of pain, anger, sorrow, and sadness combined with pride, resilience.” He was a commander of troops in Afghanistan during his earlier years. Your service is important for every soldier, sailor and Marine, as well as their families. It was not wasted.