Former President Donald Trump slammed President Joe Biden on Monday after Biden deflected blame for the ongoing chaos in Afghanistan.
Biden addressed the nation directly for the first time since leaving on vacation to Camp David last week and the fall of Kabul and the Afghan government on Sunday. The Taliban blitzed through Afghanistan, toppling multiple major cities, seizing military installations, and toppling the Afghan government and military in a matter of days.
Biden gave a short address to the nation after returning to Washington, D.C., on Monday amid heavy criticism for his handling of the Afghanistan pullout. In his address, he said he stands “squarely behind my decision” to leave Afghanistan, but added that Trump’s prior agreement with the Taliban had left him with little choice.
“It’s not that we left Afghanistan. It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!” Trump said in a statement after Biden’s address.
Biden claimed that had he not followed through with a tight timeline to pull out American forces, the United States would have inevitably headed into heated conflict with the Taliban.
“When I came into office, I inherited a deal that President Trump negotiated with the Taliban. Under his agreement, U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021 – just a little over three months after I took office,” Biden said. “U.S. forces had already drawn down during the Trump administration from roughly 15,500 American forces to 2,500 troops in country, and the Taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001.”
“The choice I had to make as your president was to either follow through on that agreement, or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. There would have been no ceasefire after May 1. There was no agreement protecting our forces after May 1. There was no status quo of stability without American casualties after May 1,” he continued. “There was only the cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdraw our forces, or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more American troops back into combat in Afghanistan, lurching into the third decade of conflict.”
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden stated. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s why we’re still there.”
U.S. forces in Afghanistan are rushing to evacuate thousands of American citizens, personnel, and Afghan refugees amid the ongoing chaos that has enveloped Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city. The United States took control of the Karzai International Airport on Sunday to oversee evacuation operations and air traffic control.
The U.S. temporarily suspended flights from the airport Monday morning, however, after thousands of Afghans broke through airport security and stormed the airstrip attempting to get a flight out of the Taliban-controlled country. Biden ordered 1,000 more U.S. troops into Kabul to help maintain order and aid in the evacuation process.
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