House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday doubled down on her praise for President Joe Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying the president was “strong” and “decisive” in his action.
San Francisco CBS affiliate KPIX asked Pelosi whether the Biden administration should have had a “stronger U.S. military presence” for the transition.
“Well, first may I just say that I commend the president for the action that he took,” Pelosi responded. “It was strong, it was decisive, and it was the right thing to do. We should have been out of Afghanistan a while back.”
“Unfortunately, one of the possibilities was that it would be in disarray as it is,” the House speaker added. “But that has to be corrected.”
Pelosi said that her understanding is that the military will negotiate with the Taliban for the safe exit of American citizens as well as America’s Afghan allies there.
As of Tuesday, up to 15,000 Americans were still trapped in Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country over the weekend. The State Department said Tuesday that the U.S. government “cannot ensure safe passage” to Kabul’s international airport for U.S. citizens still trapped in the country and hoping to catch an evacuation flight.
Meanwhile, the U.S. left a substantial amount of military equipment in the country that ended up in the hands of the Taliban. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan acknowledged on Tuesday that “a fair amount” of U.S. defense materials has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.
“How much does that raise the threat of future terrorist attacks, this well-armed Taliban,” KPIX asked Pelosi.
“Well, I do believe that the president’s decision was based on one that reduced the prospect of any attack on our homeland,” Pelosi responded. “And the president has made it very clear to the Taliban, any assault on any American entity or person would be met forcefully.”
Nancy Pelosi was asked about the tens of billions of dollars in equipment left behind for the Taliban.
She says that “This is what happens when you withdraw.” pic.twitter.com/g9lipOTmdr
— Amy Tarkanian (@MrsT106) August 18, 2021
“This is what happens when you withdraw,” she continued. “Some stuff, some equipment is left there. It was thought that that would be used, it was hoped that that would be used by the Afghan military to defend its own country.”
Pelosi also praised Biden’s ongoing withdrawal from Afghanistan, widely regarded as botched, over the weekend.
“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action. The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions,” the House speaker said in a statement on Saturday.
She added that the U.S. is “concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls.”
On Tuesday, disturbing photos emerged from Afghanistan of bloodied women and children who had been attacked by the Taliban.
Biden defended his actions around the withdrawal on Monday in an address to the nation.
“How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan’s civil war when Afghan troops will not?” Biden said from the White House. “How many more lives, American lives, is it worth, how many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?”