By Spy Uganda Correspondent
President Joe Biden said on Monday he made the right call to pull American troops out of Afghanistan even though he said the Taliban’s swift seizure of Kabul unfolded faster than expected.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said during a speech at the White House.
Biden said Afghan officials – including former President Ashraf Ghani – had assured him Afghan forces would fight the insurgents.
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden said.
Without specifying any particular mistakes that were made, Biden said the withdrawal process has been “hard and messy – and yes, far from perfect.”
But Biden emphasized he is honoring the commitment he made when he ran for president to bring the military involvement to an end.
Taliban fighters completed their sweep of the country by seizing control of Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday as American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.
Biden said there have been “gut-wrenching” scenes in Afghanistan. He defended efforts to close the embassy and secure the airport to fly people to safety.
Addressing criticism about why the evacuation of Afghanis didn’t happen sooner, Biden said some didn’t want to leave because they were still hopeful about the outcome. He said the administration didn’t want to trigger a crisis of confidence.
He said he followed through on a troop withdrawal plan developed during the administration of President Donald Trump.
“I know my decision will be criticized,” he said.
Claiming “my share of responsibility” for what happened, Biden said he did not want to pass along an unsolvable problem to yet another president.
“I cannot and will not ask our troops to fight on endlessly in another country’s civil war,” he said before adding; “there was never a good time to withdraw US forces.”