President Joe Biden appeared to struggle at times during Thursday’s White House press conference and got testy with a reporter who asked him about Afghanistan, which was the subject of the press conference.
Biden appeared to struggle when talking about Americans that are detained overseas, relocating Afghan interpreters, and talking about the reasons that the U.S. went to Afghanistan.
This was Biden’s press conference today. Is he okay? pic.twitter.com/w58YW9nBtZ
— Ian Miles Cheong @ stillgray.substack.com (@stillgray) July 8, 2021
Biden also became testy with a reporter who asked him if he trusts the Taliban.
Q: "Mr President, do you trust the Taliban?"
Biden: "Is that a serious question"
Reporter: "Absolutely is a serious question"
Biden: "No I do not trust the Taliban"
Reporter: "Will you amplify your answer?"
Biden: "It's a silly question. Do I trust the Taliban. No" pic.twitter.com/TAMUazRUDr
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) July 8, 2021
PBS News journalist Amna Nawaz responded to Biden’s remarks about the Taliban by noting: “The US negotiated its withdrawal from Afghanistan with the Taliban.”
During the press conference Biden said that U.S. troops will be pulled out of Afghanistan by August 31 instead of the previous September 11 deadline that Biden set.
Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that there was no “mission accomplished” moment in Afghanistan while adding that the U.S. did not win the war there.
“We’re not going to have a ‘mission accomplished’ moment, in this regard. It’s a 20-year war that has not been won militarily,” Psaki said. “We are proud of the men and women who have served.”
“We’re not having a moment of celebration,” Psaki said. “We’re having a moment where we feel it’s in our national security interest to bring our men and women serving home, and we feel it’s in our national security interest for Afghan forces to be in the lead.”
Psaki said that the Biden administration would push for a “political outcome and a political solution” and that the U.S. did “exactly what we wanted to do.”
Biden further added that the draw down was “proceeding in a secure and orderly way” and that it was moving as fast as possible, which he said enhanced the “safety” of U.S. forces.
“The US military mission in Afghanistan continues through the end of August,” Biden said. “We retain personnel and capacities in the country, and we maintain the same authority under which we’ve been operating for some time. As I said in April, the United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan, to get the terrorists who attacked us on 911, and deliver justice to Osama bin Laden, and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States. We achieved those objectives. That’s why we went.”
“We did not go to Afghanistan to nation build, and it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country,” he added. “Together with our NATO allies and partners, we have trained and equipped nearly 300,000 current serving members of the military, the Afghan National Security Force, and many beyond that who are no longer serving.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.
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