Biden says “buck stops with me” and defends Afghanistan withdrawal

Washington — President Biden mentioned he stands “squarely behind his determination” to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan on Monday however admitted that the swift collapse of the central authorities caught the U.S. off guard, telling the nation “the buck stops with me” as chaotic efforts to evacuate U.S. personnel and Afghan allies from Kabul proceed. 

Addressing the nation for the primary time for the reason that Taliban took the capital on Sunday, the president did little to deal with urgent questions on why the U.S. didn’t anticipate the fast tempo of the Taliban takeover or why the U.S. was to not ready to evacuate Afghans who aided U.S. efforts through the years. He claimed many Afghans who assisted the U.S. weren’t evacuated sooner as a result of they did not need to depart and since the Afghan authorities discouraged it. The president took no questions after his remarks, and returned to Camp David on Monday afternoon. 

“I stand squarely behind my determination,” Mr. Biden mentioned from the White Home, defending his timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops. “After 20 years, I’ve realized the onerous method that there was by no means time to withdraw U.S. forces.”

Mr. Biden started his remarks by insisting the mission in Afghanistan, which the U.S. invaded in 2001 after the September 11 assaults, was “by no means imagined to be nation-building” and “by no means imagined to be making a unified, centralized democracy.” He mentioned the one goal now’s to cease terrorist assaults on the American homeland. Mr. Biden advised the nation he “inherited” former President Donald Trump’s determination to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the tip of Could, explaining that his solely two selections had been to comply with by on that settlement or to escalate the battle by sending hundreds extra U.S. troops to struggle the Taliban.

President Biden delivers remarks in regards to the state of affairs in Afghanistan within the East Room of the White Home on Tuesday, August 16, 2021.


Nonetheless, the president admitted, “this did unfold extra shortly than we had anticipated.” Afghan leaders gave up and fled the nation, and the Afghan army refused to struggle the advancing Taliban forces, he mentioned.

“American troops can’t and shouldn’t be preventing in a struggle and dying in a struggle that Afghan forces should not keen to struggle for themselves,” Mr. Biden mentioned. 

The president mentioned he made it clear to the Taliban that any assault on evacuating U.S. personnel could be met “with devastating drive if vital.”

Mr. Biden did briefly tackle why the U.S. didn’t evacuate U.S. allies — Afghans who helped the U.S., akin to interpreters — earlier. He claimed “a few of the Afghans didn’t need to depart early, nonetheless hopeful for his or her nation,” and the Afghan authorities “discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to keep away from triggering, as they mentioned, a ‘disaster of confidence.'” However that is not essentially in keeping with the backlog of hundreds of Afghan functions for particular immigrant visas. 

Special Report: Biden speaks on Afghanistan


At the same time as he positioned blame on his predecessor and on the Afghan leaders, Mr. Biden mentioned he accepts duty for the withdrawal, noting he did not need a future president to should make the troublesome determination he did. 

“I’m president of america and the buck stops with me,” Mr. Biden mentioned. “I’m deeply saddened by the details we now face, however I don’t remorse my determination to finish America’s war-fighting in Afghanistan and keep a laser-focus on our counterterrorism mission there and in different components of the world.” 

In Kabul, the state of affairs stays grim and fluid. A U.S. army official advised CBS Information’ David Martin on Monday that U.S. troops had killed two armed Afghans who had been a part of the large crowd that breached the airport perimeter, and studies mentioned seven individuals have died in complete. Sources inform CBS Information about 100 embassy workers are nonetheless on the airport, working what stays of the embassy.

Weijia Jiang, Ed O’Keefe and Christina Ruffini contributed to this report. | Biden says “buck stops with me” and defends Afghanistan withdrawal


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