In a speech from the White House, the president admitted that there were mistakes in the way the exit unfolded, fueling a chorus of criticism at home, but that he had not wavered in what he believed was best for the United States.
Biden speaks after United States exit from Afghanistan, Taliban takeover
President Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday afternoon in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the near-immediate takeover of the country by the Taliban, which for years had been held at bay by U.S. forces.
In a White House speech, Biden admitted there were mistakes in the way the military exit unfolded, fueling a chorus of criticism at home, but said he had not wavered in his estimation of what was best for the country after two decades. of war abroad.
“I am left again to ask those who think we should stay: how many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight the civil war in Afghanistan if Afghan troops don’t? How many more lives, American lives, is it worth? How many endless rows of tombstones in Arlington National Cemetery?”
“I am clear about my answer,” Biden said. “I will not repeat the mistakes we have made in the past.”
“The scenes we’re seeing in Afghanistan are heartbreaking,” the president said.
But that had not changed his mind.
“There was only the cold reality,” he said: withdraw under a deal with the Taliban that was brokered by the Trump administration or resume fighting, “lurching into the third decade of conflict.”
America’s post-9/11 goals of rooting out terrorist networks and tracking down Osama bin Laden had long been achieved, Biden said.
The pursuit of nation-building in Afghanistan was, in his words, folly.
“I totally agree with my decision,” he said. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.”
The twin developments of the military pullout and the resurgent insurgency, though anticipated, surprised many around the country, caught the Biden White House off guard and drew a sharp rebuke from Republicans and even some Democrats, including for what critics called the abandonment of local allies.