Saturday, September 18

Biden defends withdrawal from Afghanistan: “I fully reaffirm my decision”

US President Joe Biden defended on Monday his decision to withdraw troops from the country after the chaos experienced in the capital of the city hours after the Taliban took control of the country. “I fully reaffirm my decision,” he said.

“What has happened now could have happened the same five years ago or 15 years from now,” he said. “I know my decision will be criticized, but I would rather be criticized than pass the situation on to another president. It is the right decision.”

The president has insisted, as he had done on other occasions, that he inherited this situation after the agreement with the Taliban reached by his predecessor. “There was no agreement that would protect our forces after May 1. The options were to escalate the conflict or fulfill the agreement.”

Biden has also harshly criticized the Afghan authorities for their unwillingness to fight. “We have not been able to provide them with the will to fight for their future. There is no option that one, five or 20 more years would have made a difference.” The president has stated that he would not repeat the mistakes of the past of trying to fight indefinitely, but he has warned the Taliban that if they attack US forces or interrupt evacuation work, the US will respond “quickly and with force.”

This Sunday and Monday there have been scenes of chaos and terror at the Kabul airport, where a large number of civilians have gathered trying to board a plane and flee the capital, taken by the Taliban. Commercial flights have been suspended, the US military has reinforced its presence at the airfield to try to regain control and at least seven people have died. as reported by the AP agency citing military sources.

The Department of Defense has announced that it will expand its presence at the capital’s airport to 6,000 soldiers with the mission of facilitating the evacuation of foreign and local personnel. That figure represents more than double the number in the country when Biden announced in April the beginning of the withdrawal after 20 years of war.

After taking power, the Taliban have wanted to present themselves to the world as a less radicalized ruling force than when they took the country in 1996 until its fall in 2001. “We assure all diplomats, embassies, consulates and humanitarian workers, national or international, not only will they not have problems, but also a safe environment, “said a Taliban spokesman, who also assured that the insurgents will not enter anyone’s home without permission.

But nevertheless, several information indicate that in several regions they have already carried out this type of registration. A source has also told that in Herat they no longer allow women to enter the university.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also spoken about the situation in the country: “We all have a responsibility in this, and so do I. We had a bad assessment of the situation and not only in Germany, but it was something general.”

Agreement, withdrawal and fall of Kabul

In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban They reached an agreement. The United States committed to a total withdrawal from the country by May 1 and the Taliban guaranteed that Afghanistan would not be used by any group or individual to attack the security of the United States and its allies. The insurgents also claimed to start a negotiation process with the Afghan government – which they kept on the sidelines of the talks.

However, the talks between the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan did not bear fruit and the insurgents launched a spectacular offensive in May coinciding with the beginning of the US withdrawal. The Taliban were taking control of various districts throughout the country and approaching the provincial capitals. The first to fall into their hands was Zaranj on August 6. In the next 10 days the number cascaded until the capture of Kabul on Sunday.

On July 8, Biden gave a speech on the status of the withdrawal and stated that despite the Taliban advance, the fall of the entire country was not inevitable “because the Afghan army has 300,000 soldiers as well equipped as any army in the world and an air force against some 75,000 Taliban.” Even so, the Afghan army has quickly collapsed, sometimes offering little or no resistance. “I am confident in the capabilities of the army,” the president said in July.

Biden said then that he has always opposed the presence of US forces in Afghanistan because “no nation has ever been able to unify Afghanistan.” “We did not enter Afghanistan with the task of rebuilding the country. It is the sole responsibility of the Afghan people to decide their future.” However, he assured that the initial mission has been fulfilled. An idea that has been repeated this Monday.

“We went to Afghanistan to catch the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, to execute Osama bin Laden and to reduce the terrorist threat so that Afghanistan is not used as a base against the United States. We have achieved those objectives,” the president said in July.

Nevertheless, a recent UN report warns: “The Taliban and Al Qaeda remain closely allies and show no indication of severing those ties.” “Al Qaeda is present in at least 15 Afghan provinces and members of the group have been relocated to more remote areas by the Taliban to avoid possible exposure and attack.”