The decision on the withdrawal of the coalition’s troops from Afghanistan was consulted with the allies and everyone agreed to it, said the President of the United States, Joe Biden, in an interview with ABC on Wednesday. As he added, no one could have expected that in the face of the Taliban offensive, “the 300,000 Afghan soldiers we trained and equipped would simply give up.” According to the American leader, the US should have left Afghanistan sooner.
– Before making my decision, I met with all NATO allies in Europe. They agreed that we should get out of there, said Joe Biden in an interview with ABC TV that aired on Thursday. He added that he also had many phone calls with leaders to ensure “a coherent view of how we will deal with this from now on.” In this way, he responded to suggestions that US actions in Afghanistan contradicted his slogans of rebuilding alliances and “America’s return”.
The president said that intelligence reports he received about the situation in Afghanistan did not predict such a rapid disintegration of Afghan forces. – There was no consensus on this matter. If you look back at intelligence reports, they said it was more likely to happen at the end of the year, the president said.
Biden: The United States should have left Afghanistan a long time ago
Joe Biden pointed out that no one could have predicted that “the 300,000 Afghan soldiers we trained and equipped would simply surrender.” On Wednesday, General Mark Milley, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces, made a similar statement. The most pessimistic forecast was that Afghanistan would collapse in the weeks or months after the US troops left, he said, and “no one predicted a collapse in 11 days.”
Biden said in an interview that the US should long ago have left Afghanistan with two primary goals: killing Osama bin Laden and degrading the capabilities of al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan. As he noted, the threat of terrorism is now greater in other regions, including in East and West Africa, and while a resurgence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan is possible, the US will be able to respond without troops being present.
According to the president, a withdrawal from Afghanistan would be chaos and disorder at any time.
Biden on the evacuation from Afghanistan: our commitment is valid
Biden announced that the evacuation of Americans in Afghanistan, which may be up to 15,000, will take as long as it is necessary. He did not guarantee the same to 50-65 thousand Afghan associates of the US forces, although he assured that America would make efforts in this field. – Our commitment is still valid to get out all we can and all who should get out. This is the goal. This is what we are doing and we are on this path, ”said Biden.
He also added that the US should evacuate as many Afghan women as possible. He noted, however, that America cannot fight for women’s rights through military interventions, and Afghanistan is not the only place where the situation of women is difficult.
When asked if the Taliban has changed in the last 20 years, Biden said they are currently in “some sort of existential crisis about whether they want to be recognized by the international community as their rightful power.” The president agreed that their fundamentalist views are more important to them than recognizing the world, but they must also be concerned with “whether they have what to eat and whether they have money and are able to run the economy.” “I’m not saying it will prevail, but it’s part of what’s happening now,” Biden said.
Joe Biden on the third dose of the vaccine
Biden also referred to Wednesday’s administration’s decision to start offering Americans a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines against COVID-19. He rejected criticism from the World Health Organization (WHO), whose representatives likened the decision to “throwing extra life jackets to people who have them, while others drown them.”
Biden replied that the US is doing more than any other country to provide vaccines to other countries. – By the middle of next year, we will provide the rest of the world with half a billion injections. We keep our agreement – said the president. He and his wife Jill will soon receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he added.
On Wednesday, the US authorities announced that from September 20 they will offer third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to people eight months after the second dose. This is related to the data showing that the effectiveness of the preparations is declining over time and the studies suggesting a strong increase in the level of antibodies after the third dose.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / SHAWN THEW