'The buck stops with me', says Biden but then proceeds to blame Afghan fiasco on Trump and locals who failed to fight the Taliban before staking $500M in aid to refugees then fleeing back to Camp David

 President Joe Biden delivered a speech of quiet fury at the White House on Monday, defending his decision to bring home U.S. troops before blaming Afghan leaders for their failure to prevent the country collapsing. 

'I stand squarely behind my decision,' Biden said. 'After 20 years I've learned the hard way. That there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That's why we're still there.'  

Later Monday night, Biden authorized up to $500million from an emergency fund to meet 'unexpected urgent' refugee needs stemming from the situation in Afghanistan, including for Afghan special immigration visa applicants, the White House said.


The United States is said to be preparing to begin evacuating thousands of Afghan applicants for special immigration visas (SIVs) who risk retaliation from Taliban insurgents because they worked for the U.S. government.

Biden's remarks earlier in the day was the first time the president had spoken publicly about the unfolding crisis in six days. He was forced to return from Camp David amid hostile headlines about his absence from Washington while Americans were being rescued from Kabul airport. 

He admitted missteps during the past two decades and described the chaos at Kabul airport, where throngs of Afghans are desperately seeking escape, as 'gut wrenching.'

'I am president of the United States of America,' he said. 'And the buck stops with me.'  

But only up to a point. He said the blame for such a rapid disintegration lay not with him, but his predecessor as president and Afghanistan's leaders.

'The truth is - this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,' he said, his eyes narrow.

'So what's happened? Afghanistan's political leaders gave up and fled the country.  

'The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight.'  


President Joe Biden defended leaving Afghanistan during remarks at the White House Monday, saying he had learned there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces

President Joe Biden defended leaving Afghanistan during remarks at the White House Monday, saying he had learned there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces

Biden spoke for about 18 minutes in the East Room of the White House and then left without taking questions. It marked the first time he had spoken publicly about Afghanistan in six days

Biden spoke for about 18 minutes in the East Room of the White House and then left without taking questions. It marked the first time he had spoken publicly about Afghanistan in six days

As soon as he finished his address to the nation, Biden got on Marine One and headed back to Camp David

As soon as he finished his address to the nation, Biden got on Marine One and headed back to Camp David 

Afghans climb on top of a passenger jet at Kabul's airport amid chaotic scenes as civilians try to find safe passage out of the Afghan capital after Taliban takeover

Afghans climb on top of a passenger jet at Kabul's airport amid chaotic scenes as civilians try to find safe passage out of the Afghan capital after Taliban takeover

A C-17 jet carrying 640 Afghan refugees that left Kabul on Sunday night as the Taliban claimed the city. The flight landed in Qatar. The refugees ran up the half-open ramp while US forces were preparing for take-off, according to an unnamed defense official cited by Defense One on Monday. At least one other C-17 has departed the area

A C-17 jet carrying 640 Afghan refugees that left Kabul on Sunday night as the Taliban claimed the city. The flight landed in Qatar. The refugees ran up the half-open ramp while US forces were preparing for take-off, according to an unnamed defense official cited by Defense One on Monday. At least one other C-17 has departed the area 


He delivered his speech on a day that brought some of the most disturbing images so far of the confusion and disorder in Kabul.

A video showed desperate Afghans clinging to the sides of a U.S. military plane as it tried to leave the city's airport. Another showed people plunging to their deaths from a C-17 transport aircraft. 

In his remarks, Biden insisted the rapid collapse of the country only reinforced his belief that bringing troops home was the right thing to do. 

'American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,' he said. 

Biden also pointed a finger at former President Donald Trump's agreement with the Taliban to pull out American troops by May 1, 2021. 

'So I'm left again to ask of those who argue that we should stay: How many more generations of America's daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghanistan's civil war, when Afghan troops will not?' Biden said. 

'How many more lives, American lives is it worth? How many endless rows of head stones at Arlington National Cemetery?' 

'I'm clear in my answer: I will not repeat the mistakes we've made in the past. The mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the United States,' he continued. 

'Of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country. Of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of U.S. forces,' the president added.

His speech lasted about 18 minutes. At its conclusion, he walked out of the East Room, ignoring reporters' shouted questions. 

Twenty minutes later his motorcade left for Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., where Marine One was waiting to take him back to Camp David.  

Biden's speech repeated many of the talking points already circulated by White House officials, who asked the simple question: If not now, when?

But critics said he did nothing to address the sense that the U.S. withdrawal was hasty and ill-planned.

Former President Trump hit back at Biden. 

'It's not that we left Afghanistan,' he said in an emailed statement. 'It's the grossly incompetent way we left!'

Vandenberg Coalition chairman and former senior State Department official Elliott Abrams said it was a 'disgraceful performance.' 

He added: 'The president never addressed the real questions: why would he not leave a few thousand troops to provide air power? 

'Why did he not understand that his decisions would create chaos?'

Jim Carafano, of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said: 'It is unconscionable that the Biden administration accelerated this withdrawal without having plans in place to get all American citizens and allied Afghan partners who assisted American forces out of the country first. 

'It is shocking that there was no contingency planning in place to respond to the worst-case scenario.'

Biden was originally supposed to stay at Camp David until Wednesday as part of an August vacation.    

Only last month, Biden had shrugged off concerns that the Taliban were poised to return to power, saying the Afghan military had the advantage in men and arms

'The likelihood there's going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely,' he said.  

The past week has proved him wrong and plunged his presidency into crisis. 

At least eight people were killed during chaos at the Kabul airport on Monday, as thousands of Afghans traveled to the airfield in hopes of escaping the Taliban. 

Two of those killed were armed Afghans shot dead by US troops. 

Another three were run over by taxiing jets. An additional three were stowaways who fell from the engines of a US Air Force jet as it took off. 

Meanwhile, Taliban fighters are going door to door to find Afghan special forces who fought alongside the U.S., Fox News reported.   

A day earlier President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country. 


President Joe Biden is captured landing at Fort McNair after cutting his trip to Camp David short to return to Washington and deliver remarks on Afghanistan

President Joe Biden is captured landing at Fort McNair after cutting his trip to Camp David short to return to Washington and deliver remarks on Afghanistan

Biden RETURNS to DC from his Camp David 'vacation' on Marine One
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President Joe Biden meets virtually with national security advisers from Camp David where he was supposed to spend part of his August vacation

President Joe Biden meets virtually with national security advisers from Camp David where he was supposed to spend part of his August vacation 

It poured in Washington Monday morning, while Biden remained at Camp David. He was supposed to stay at the presidential retreat until Wednesday, but cut the trip short due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan

It poured in Washington Monday morning, while Biden remained at Camp David. He was supposed to stay at the presidential retreat until Wednesday, but cut the trip short due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan 

The Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces

The Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week, despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly two decades to build up Afghan security forces


The result is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe and questions about how a president who trumpeted his foreign experience during last year's campaign could have got things so wrong. 

Shortly before his arrival back in Washington, the White House sent out a statement saying Biden was being updated with reports from the Kabul airport, where eight people have reportedly been killed as American forces oversee evacuation efforts.  

'This morning, the President was briefed by his national security team, including the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman Milley, on the security situation at Hamid Karzai International Airport, and ongoing efforts to safely evacuate American citizens, US Embassy personnel and local staff, SIV applicants and their families, and other vulnerable Afghans,' it said. 

Email enquiries sent to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over the weekend received an automated out-of-office response saying she would return on Aug. 22. 

While U.S. military planes flew in an out of Kabul airport to rescue American nationals, it was left to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to defend Biden's decision for a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Sullivan said staying longer would not have changed the overall outcome but was vague about when the nation might hear from its commander in chief. 

'They can expect to hear from the president soon. He's right now actively engaged with his national security team,' he told Good Morning America. 

'He is working the situation hard. 

'He is focused on ensuring the mission which is to secure that airport and continue these evacuations that that mission continues and brought to a positive conclusion. He's deeply engaged on it. 

'At the right point he will address the American people.'

After Sullivan's appearance, the White House pushed out updated guidance announcing the president would return to Washington.  


National Security Adviser said the nation would hear from President Biden 'at the right point' as criticism mounts of his decision to stay away from Washington amid deepening crisis

National Security Adviser said the nation would hear from President Biden 'at the right point' as criticism mounts of his decision to stay away from Washington amid deepening crisis

Except for statements, Biden hasn't publicly commented on Afghanistan in six days. 

'They've got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation,' Biden said Tuesday of Afghan forces. 'They've got to want to fight.' 

At the time, the president said he didn't regret his decision. 

Trump mocked Biden's White House absence before he returned.   

'The outcome in Afghanistan would have been totally different if the Trump Administration had been in charge,' he said in an emailed statement.

'Who or what will Joe Biden surrender to next?

'Someone should ask him, if they can find him.'  

On Monday, Sullivan admitted that the administration was surprised at how quickly Kabul had fallen.  

'It is certainly the case that the speed with which cities fell was much greater than anyone anticipated,' he told NBC's Today show.

 Like other officials, he tried to distance the Biden administration from the collapse, blaming Afghanistan's government and armed forces and said staying longer would have made little difference.

'Part of the reason for that... is because at the end of the day, despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to get the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the national Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will,' he said.  

Biden, he also said, was ready to work with other leaders in trying to protect Afghans.

'The buck stops with me', says Biden but then proceeds to blame Afghan fiasco on Trump and locals who failed to fight the Taliban before staking $500M in aid to refugees then fleeing back to Camp David 'The buck stops with me', says Biden but then proceeds to blame Afghan fiasco on Trump and locals who failed to fight the Taliban before staking $500M in aid to refugees then fleeing back to Camp David Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:42 Rating: 5

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