Afghanistan crisis: Biden to address amid mounting criticism
US president Joe Biden will make an address on Friday amid massive criticism over his administration's rushed withdrawal of troops, being blamed for the crisis the country has plunged into. The President is expected to provide an update of US evacuation operations. In May, the Biden administration announced that the US and NATO forces would withdraw from Afghanistan unconditionally. As soon as the process began, Afghanistan witnessed an unexpected Taliban offensive which concluded on August 15 as Kabul fell to the insurgent group. Since then, the country has been plunged into an unforeseen crisis.
This is not the first time that Biden will be speaking about the crisis. A day after Kabul's fall, the US president made an address in which he blamed the Afghan forces for the catastrophe. "I know that there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghans — civilians sooner. Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier — still hopeful for their country. And part of it was because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, 'a crisis of confidence,'" Biden said.
"The events we’re seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of military force would ever deliver a stable, united, and secure Afghanistan — as known in history as the “graveyard of empires.” What is happening now could just as easily have happened 5 years ago or 15 years in the future. We have to be honest: Our mission in Afghanistan has taken many missteps — made many missteps over the past two decades. I’m now the fourth American President to preside over war in Afghanistan — two Democrats and two Republicans. I will not pass this responsibly on — responsibility on to a fifth President," Biden said.
Thousands of people are yet to be evacuated ahead of the United States' August 31 deadline to withdraw its troops from the country, although the pace picked up overnight. A defence official said about 5,700 people, including about 250 Americans, were flown out of Kabul aboard 16 C-17 transport planes. On each of the previous two days, about 2,000 people were airlifted.
The US president has recently said that US troops may stay past August 31 to ensure that all Americans are evacuated.
With the Taliban taking over Kabul, the country is in throes of a major power shift which will not be clear before August 31, reports said. A former Aghan official has said to the Associated Press that according to the deal with the United States, the Taliban won't do anything before August 31, or before the US completes its evacuation process.
(With Agency Inputs)