“I take responsibility for this decision. Now there are some people saying that we should start mass evacuations earlier and can’t this be done in a more orderly manner? I respect those opinions, but disagree.The bottom line is that no way of retreating after a war is over can take place without the complications, challenges, and threats we all have. just went through,” Biden said.
US soldiers prepare to board a plane to leave Hamid Karzai airport.
More than 123,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul in a massive but chaotic airlift by the US and its allies over the past two weeks. The evacuation process also saw the deaths of 13 US service members and many Afghan civilians in a suicide bombing carried out by the terrorist group ISIS-K outside Hamid Karzai airport.
In his first speech since the last withdrawal from Kabul, Biden said 90% of Americans who wanted to leave had already been evacuated. However, Republican leader in the US Senate Mitch McConnell said that many Americans had been left behind on enemy soil and called the withdrawal an “unfortunate and catastrophic departure”.
President Biden said the only option left was to step up the fight.
“It’s a choice, a real choice, between leaving the war or escalating the war. I’m not going to prolong this war forever. And I’m not going to prolong the military presence forever,” he said. .
Taliban fighters patrol the runway at Hamid Karzai airport after the US withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Taliban soldiers fired bullets into the sky to celebrate the victory over the US. A Taliban official said from the runway at Kabul airport that they are prepared to engage in diplomacy and have good relations with the world, including the United States.
Several other Taliban fighters went to inspect the helicopters abandoned by the US. The windows and control panel were all smashed. The Taliban now control more territory than they did before they were overthrown by the US.