Under fire over withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, Joe Biden's 2010 statement surfaces

Taliban returned to rule this week after a lightning offensive as US-led Western forces withdrew under a deal that included a promise by the insurgent group not to attack them as they leave.
US President Joe Biden.(Reuters)
US President Joe Biden.(Reuters)
Updated on Aug 18, 2021 12:52 PM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani Kumar | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

United States President Joe Biden is facing a major backlash, including from his NATO allies for not doing enough to prevent the humanitarian crisis triggered by the troops' pullout after two decades of war. The country is now under the siege of the Taliban, which is likely to impose radical Islamic law and experts fear that they will turn the country into the safe haven of terrorist activities.

In the backdrop of this embroiling crisis, a statement made by Biden is making headlines in which he seems to be in favour of the withdrawal of US troops from the war-torn country. According to a report by the Atlantic, Richard Holbrooke who was a special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Obama administration in 2010, asked Biden whether the US has a moral obligation to remain in Afghanistan to protect its residents. To this, the then vice-president responded, saying "F--- that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it. The news outlet cited Holbrooke's diary as the source of the statement.

During the Vietnam war, the US sent its troops to defend South Vietnam in 1955. For the next nearly 20 years, the forces stayed there and fought with the North Vietnam forces. The war eventually ended after the US troops were forced to leave South Vietnam following the capture of Saigon, now known as Ho Chi Minh City, by North Vietnam’s forces.

After this, the US forces carried out evacuations, similar to the ones it is now carrying out in Afghanistan following the Taliban military takeover of the capital city Kabul.

The US entered Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks for "war on terror" and ousted the Taliban from the country. Since then the US troops have stayed in the South Asian nation to help in anti-terror operations.

Taliban returned to rule this week after a lightning offensive as US-led Western forces withdrew under a deal that included a promise by the insurgent group not to attack them as they leave.

The plan to withdraw from Afghanistan was announced by former US President Donald Trump. After taking over the office this year, President Joe Biden continued with the plan and announced that the last troops would leave by the end of August.

On Tuesday, rejecting the criticism over the fallout, Biden said he stands behind the decision to leave the country. He also assured to evacuate thousands of Afghans from the country, while also pinned the blame for the fallout on the Afghanistan government. In his address from the White House, Biden said that he had warned Ashraf Ghani — who was appointed Afghanistan's president in a US-negotiated agreement — to be prepared to fight a civil war with the Taliban after American forces leave the country. "They failed to do any of that," Biden also said.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021