In his first public appearance since the terrorist attack in Afghanistan Joe Biden promised all Americans, who want to leave the Middle Eastern country, will be evacuated on Aug. 31.
“Ninety percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” he said in a statement.
The president refused to be rushed into evacuating every American who was left behind.
“For those remaining Americans there is no deadline,” he said. “We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.”
Biden claimed only 10 percent of U.S. citizens in Afghanistan want to flee. He promised to “make arrangements” for them.
“We believe that about 100 to 200 Americans remain in Afghanistan, with some intention to leave,” he said. “Most of those who remain are dual citizens, longtime residents who had earlier decided to stay because of their family roots in Afghanistan.”
However, Republicans accused the Democrat of breaking his earlier promise to keep troops in Kabul until every U.S. citizen is evacuated. This allegedly left hundreds of stranded Americans at the mercy of Taliban fighters and other extremist groups.
“The Biden administration should not have left Afghanistan without bringing home every single American trapped behind enemy lines,” Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) said on Twitter. “We should have never been on the Taliban’s timeline.”
The Biden Administration should not have left Afghanistan without bringing home every single American trapped behind enemy lines. We should have never been on the Taliban’s timeline.— Ashley Hinson (@RepAshleyHinson) August 30, 2021
“The United States just completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan with many Americans still stuck behind enemy lines desperate to get out, and $85 billion in U.S. weapons and equipment [is] now in Taliban hands,” Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) added on Twitter. “This is a historic disgrace of epic proportions ordered by President Biden.”
The United States just completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan with many Americans still stuck behind enemy lines desperate to get out, and $85 billion in US weapons and equipment now in Taliban hands. This is a historic disgrace of epic proportions ordered by President Biden.— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) August 30, 2021
Biden defends decisions
The president deflected GOP criticism about suddenly withdrawing U.S. military personnel with a lack of prior planning. This ended in a terrorist attack that killed 13 American servicemen and 170 Afghans.
“Imagine if we had begun evacuations in June or July, bringing in thousands of American troops and evacuating more than 120,000 people in the middle of a civil war,” he said in the statement. “There still would have been a rush to the airport, a breakdown in competence and control of the government, and it still would have been a very difficult and dangerous mission.”
“The bottom line is, there is no evacuation from the end of a war that you can run without the kinds of complexities, challenges, and threats we faced–none,” he added.
Biden claimed existing agreements between the previous administration, Taliban and U.S.-backed Afghan government deprived him of decision-making powers.
“We were left with a simple decision: either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan, or say we were not leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops–going back to war,” he said. “That was the choice, the real choice, between leaving or escalating.”
A former Marine lieutenant colonel recently made headlines after releasing a controversial video on Aug. 28. Stuart Scheller criticized the Pentagon’s decision to close Bagram Air Base, withdraw most troops, and only evacuate civilians. He was quickly relieved of command for giving the feedback before voluntary resigning himself.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) believes the United States could have used the air base to evacuate civilians without risking more lives at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The Democrat quickly fired back, “Could this have been done in a more orderly manner? I respectfully disagree.”
According to intelligence reports, the Islamic State-K terrorist group is planning a second attack against U.S. targets.
Biden claimed his administration would not tolerate any further terrorist attacks and take appropriate action.
“Let me say it clearly to those who wish America harm, to those who engage in terrorism against us or our allies,” he said. “Know this: the United States will never rest, we will not forgive, we will not forget, we will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.”