Joe Biden blasts Afghan leaders for ‘giving up’

President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House

President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White HouseCredit: AP

PRESIDENT Joe Biden has blasted the Afghan army for "giving up" in the face of the Taliban resurgence and said he "stands squarely behind" the decision to pull US troops out of the war-torn country.

PRESIDENT Joe Biden has blasted the Afghan army for “giving up” in the face of the Taliban resurgence and said he “stands squarely behind” the decision to pull US troops out of the war-torn country.

Biden risked a global backlash after slamming the Afghan president and military leaders in an address from the White House, after days of silence on the crisis.

President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House
President Joe Biden speaks about Afghanistan from the East Room of the White HouseCredit: AP

 

A US soldier point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport
A US soldier point his gun towards an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport

The President also admitted being taken by surprise by the speed of the Afghan government’s collapse.

He said: “The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.

“So what’s happened?

“Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.”

The President told Americans…

  • The US’ 20-year mission was not about “nation building” but hunting down al-Qaeda
  • Americans should not be “dying in a war that Afghans are not willing to fight themselves”
  • Taliban has been warned that any attacks on the US will be met with “devastating force”
  • Taliban is “yesterday’s threat” & US needs to focus on threats faced in 2021

Biden added that he would not repeat the mistakes of the past.

“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said in a televised address to the nation from the White House East Room.

“After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.”

He insisted that the decision to leave Afghanistan is the right one for America.

Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.

“We will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed,” the President said.

“The events we’re seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, secure Afghanistan.

“I am President of the United States of America and the buck stops with me.

“I am deeply saddened by the facts we now face… I do not regret my decision.”

‘THEY GAVE UP’

Biden heaped blame on the outgoing Afghan administration, which he said had “collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight”.

He said: “It is wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghan forces would not.

“American forces cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

 

Biden described the images coming out of Afghanistan, especially of crowds trying fleeing the country at Kabul airport, as “gut-wrenching.”

It comes as video of Afghans clinging to a U.S. Air Force plane as it prepared to take off stunned viewers after being shared on social media.

Biden said the U.S. will continue to support the Afghan people, push for regional diplomacy and speak out for the rights of Afghans.

He ended his speech by asking God to “protect our troops and our diplomats.”