At a press conference on July 8, Joe Biden said he was convinced that the departure of US forces from Afghanistan would not have moments of desperation as happened in Vietnam in 1975. diplomatic representation.
For the American president, a little over a month before the Taliban regained power in the country, the radical group “is not the army of North Vietnam, nor comparable in terms of capabilities”. “Under no circumstances will you see people being kicked off the roof of the US Embassy in Afghanistan.”
Over the weekend, however, the US embassy in Kabul was closed and began operating in an area of the city’s airport protected by the US military. Today, the terminal is experiencing scenes of chaos, with Afghans trying to board overseas flights. The footage shows the runway packed with crowds, and some people even got on the outside of a plane about to take off.
Biden’s statements at the July press conference were repeated over and over on US TV channels this Sunday (15), the day the Taliban finally arrived in the capital, Kabul. Now, the Democrat is criticized for his false predictions and for being overwhelmed at that time, because he has not yet spoken publicly on the victory of the radical group and has not planned any event on Monday (16) .
The president, who had planned to take a few days of vacation, maintained some activities. On Sunday, the White House released an image of Biden attending a virtual meeting on Afghanistan from Camp David, a presidential country house about 100 miles from Washington. According to CNN, he would stay in place until Wednesday (18), but plans must change. Now, the Democrat will return to the White House on Monday and comment on the situation at 4:45 p.m. Brasilia time.
Biden argues that the United States went to Afghanistan to capture the terrorists responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks, not to solve local problems. “To stay would mean that the American soldiers would suffer losses. American men and women in the midst of a civil war. And we would have run the risk of having to send more troops back to Afghanistan to defend the remaining troops, ”he said last month. “I oppose the presence of permanent forces in Afghanistan. No nation has ever united Afghanistan. Empires went there and didn’t do that, ”he added.
On Saturday (14), just before the definitive fall of the Afghan government, he reaffirmed his position by affirming that “another or five years of American military presence would make no difference if the Afghan army could not contain his own country”. Despite promises of American support, President Ashraf Ghani deemed it preferable to leave the country, on the grounds that he wanted to avoid a bloodbath.
On Sunday, Biden was criticized by Republicans and former military leaders during Barack Obama’s tenure. Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan, said the departure demonstrated a “complete lack of coordination and planning after the withdrawal”. David Petraeus, former director of the CIA, called the situation catastrophic and a huge setback for national security. “If you had maintained the status quo, with 2,500 or 3,500 troops on the ground conducting counterterrorism operations, this disaster should not have happened,” Wyoming Republican Representative Liz Cheney told ABC TV.
The departure of American forces from Afghanistan had been agreed by the previous administration of Donald Trump. In September 2020, the Republican began negotiations with the Taliban, aiming for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in 2021, almost 20 years after the start of the war.
Biden continued the talks and on April 14 announced that he would end the operation in Afghanistan on the symbolic date of September 11, 2021. He then extended the deadline to August 31, which encouraged the Taliban to move quickly. The withdrawal of the military is supported by the majority of Americans, according to a poll published by the site The Hill: 73% of those questioned support the withdrawal of troops from Afghan territory, while 27% say they are against the measure.
The survey, carried out in early July, reinforces the supra-partisanship of the question: 81% of Democrats are in favor of the return of the military, and 61% of Republicans defend the same position. Of those voters who say they are independent, 77% support the order to end America’s longest war.