Biden staff break ranks over Afghanistan: 'I am absolutely appalled'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: texan1211 • 2 weeks ago • 9 comments
By: John Bowden (MSN)
President Joe Biden is facing the most serious test of his first year in office as broad swaths of the American public say they disapprove of the way he handled the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
That criticism of his administration's management of the evacuations reportedly exists inside the White House as well.
Two White House officials signalled their dismay over the end result of Mr Biden's efforts to extract Americans and vulnerable Afghan civilians from the country in interviews with Politico published on Thursday; one of the officials told the news outlet that they were "absolutely appalled and literally horrified" that more than 100 Americans remained in the country after the last flight departed Hamid Karzai International Airport, including some who had said they wanted to leave.
"It was a hostage rescue of thousands of Americans in the guise of a NEO [noncombatant evacuation operations], and we have failed that no-fail mission," that official added to Politico.
A second official characterised the US mission in Afghanistan as unaccomplished as long as any Americans who wanted to leave remained in the country.
Their remarks come after the president's most forceful defense of his management of the situation thus far, which came in the form of a national address on Tuesday in which Mr Biden said that he was not willing to keep troops in the country indefinitely to continue extracting Americans.
"I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit," Mr Biden said.
"The bottom line, 90 per cent of Americans who were in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave," the president continued, adding of those still there: "We remain committed to getting them out if they want to get out."
The president has been on the defensive in the face of both Republican and Democratic figures on Capitol Hill criticising the White House over the chaos that unfolded as Afghanistan's capital fell to the Taliban, while many are wondering how the US intelligence apparatus was apparently caught by surprise in regard to the speed with which the Taliban overran the entire country.
Not helping the situation for Mr Biden are his own statements from July, when he expressed confidence in the ability of Afghanistan's ousted government to defeat the Taliban, and new reports claiming that he asked former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to make similar statements regardless of whether they reflected the reality of the situation.
US evacuations from the country concluded just hours after US officials announced that a second attempted terrorist attack on the airport by suspected Isis-k militants had been thwarted with a drone strike.
It was revealed later in local media reports, however, that the strike led to the deaths of more civilians, including seven children, than it killed suspected militants after either a rocket from the drone itself or the secondary explosion of a vehicle-borne IED completely destroyed a nearby house and killed an entire family.
A steady majority of Americans has supported a withdrawal from Afghanistan for years. Over the course of the US's nearly 20-year war in the country, more than 171,000 Afghans including tens of thousands of civilians as well as roughly 2,500 US service members were killed.
The US signed an agreement with Taliban officials last year to begin a withdrawal from the country under former President Donald Trump, a process that was continued and extended from May to the end of August by Mr Biden after he took office.
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