The day after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, President Joe Biden publicly reaffirmed his decision to withdraw US troops from the country and blamed the country’s collapse on the Afghan government and military.
“The country’s leaders have fled. It proved that we don’t have to be there. We must not fight and die in a war the Afghans do not want to fight. We gave them every chance we could, but we couldn’t give them the will to fight, ”he said. Biden, speaking at the White House, this Monday (16).
Biden said there would be no way to keep the peace in the country without sending more troops, which would lead to a third decade of conflict. “How many more generations should we be sending out there? I won’t repeat the mistakes of the past, of waging endless wars that have nothing to do with American interests.”
The president also said the current mission is to get American citizens and their allies out of Afghanistan, and if the Taliban try to prevent this, they will face retaliation.
Biden had been silent since Saturday (14), when he released a statement, in which he reaffirmed his decision to step down. On Sunday (15), the White House released an image of him during a virtual meeting at Camp David, the presidential country house, to address the issue.
The Democrat was at Camp David to take a few days off, but returned on Monday. Over the weekend, the US press highlighted statements by him from weeks ago that showed contradictions. In July, Biden vowed that the United States would continue to support the Afghan government and said he believed the Taliban would not take power by force, as they did on Sunday, because the Afghan army would be well trained and equipped.
Polls show that a majority of Americans, from both parties, support the United States’ departure from the country. However, the president has been criticized for the chaotic way the outing unfolds, how flawed the administration’s intelligence information was, and why his administration promised a totally different scenario from what happened.
It was estimated that the Afghan forces would be able to contain their advance, or at least hold out for a few months. But the local government collapsed within weeks, the US embassy in Kabul was hastily closed, and scenes of Afghans attempting to board planes to leave the country – including trying to hang on to moving planes – reinforces the image that there has been an American defeat.
This war, which began in September 2001, is the longest ever fought by the United States. Biden has questioned the US presence in Afghanistan for years: he argues that the US went to the country to capture the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 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 (15), Biden was criticized by Republicans and former military leaders during Barack Obama’s administration. 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 military exit was granted by the previous administration, Donald Trump. In September 2020, the Republican began negotiations with the Taliban, aiming to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan in 2021. Biden continued negotiations and on April 14 announced 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 forward quickly.
The president tried to indicate that he had just followed Trump’s plans, but is being questioned by opponents and experts for the lack of planning for the withdrawal, which allowed the fundamentalist group to regain control of the country and left thousands of Afghans who helped the United States fall behind.
The US government must also define its next steps, such as its relationship with the Taliban from now on. The most urgent problem is to deal with the large number of Afghans who are trying to leave the country, fearing that the new government will revert to fundamentalist policies, such as banning women from studying and working in the outside the house.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with the foreign ministers of China and Russia on the situation in Afghanistan. The two countries have indicated that they plan to have diplomatic relations with an Afghan government led by the Taliban.
In an attempt to convey an image of moderation, Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson for the Taliban, wrote on a social network that the group is ordered not to attack the population. “Life, property and honor cannot be harmed and must be protected by the mujahedin [guerrilheiros islâmicos]”he stated.