President Joe Biden is defending his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, including the frantic final evacuation from Kabul airport.
In remarks at the White House on Tuesday, Biden said the U.S. government had reached out 19 times since March — prior to his public announcement that he was going to end the U.S. war — to encourage all American citizens in Afghanistan to leave. He acknowledged that 100 to 200 were unable to get out when the airlift ended Monday.
Thousands of desperate Afghans were also left behind. They must now rely on the Taliban to allow their departure.
Biden asserted that his administration was ready when the U.S.-backed government in Kabul collapsed in mid-August and the Taliban took over. But the airlift that began Aug. 14 has been heavily criticized by many as initially unorganized and chaotic.
The last U.S. Air Force transport plane departed Kabul one minute before midnight, local time Monday, raising questions about why Biden didn’t continue the airlift for at least another day. He had set Tuesday as a deadline for ending the evacuation.
Biden said that 5,500 Americans eventually got out, and that “arrangements” will be made to get the remaining Americans out if they so choose.
After the American withdrawal, the Taliban are reveling in their victory while reiterating their pledge to bring peace and security to the country after decades of war. An anxious population is waiting to see what the new order looks like.
More CPR News stories about Afghanistan:
- The Last US Troops Have Left Afghanistan. Here’s How Colorado’s Congress Reps Are Responding
- Colorado Veteran Faces ‘Black Hole Of Information’ While Trying To Help Interpreters Evacuate Afghanistan
- Afghanistan Withdrawal Upsets And Frustrates Colorado Veterans — Including Rep. Jason Crow
- Rep. Jason Crow’s Push To Secure Visas For Afghan Translators Advances As The US Prepares To Leave The Country
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