U.S. President Joe Biden has acknowledged that the mass evacuation of Afghanistan dubbed Kabul airlift is “not without risk.”
Speaking at the White House, President Joe Biden said that 13,000 people had been rescued during “one of the largest and most difficult airlifts in history.”
Biden claims that U.S. evacuees were not being hampered by the Taliban, contradicting his own Defense Secretary.
Mr. Biden has faced international criticism over the Taliban’s takeover.
“If any Americans want to come home, we will get them home,” said Biden, who cut his vacation short of addressing the crisis.
During a press conference, the president said that U.S. military forces would make the same commitment to accommodate 50-65,000 Afghan allies who want to leave before concluding that evacuating American citizens was “the priority.
“This Kabul Airport evacuation mission is difficult for our military because it carries with it inherent risks. It is also being conducted under challenging and complex circumstances,” said Mr. Biden.
“I cannot promise what the outcome of Kabul Airport situation will be or that there will be no risk for loss. But as president and commander in chief, I can assure you that I am mobilizing every national resource to meet this challenge,” he added.
He also said there would be no need to send American troops into Kabul Airport to extract the Americans stranded at the airport, claiming that members of the Taliban were allowing entry for anyone holding an American Passport.
Several reports from Kabul have said that Americans are having trouble reaching the airport. According to Politico, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers in a briefing on Friday that Americans trying to leave Afghanistan had been beaten by Taliban fighters.
What criticisms have been leveled at the government?
The Biden administration has faced scrutiny this week about how U.S. intelligence services failed to predict the rise of Taliban forces in Afghanistan last year.
On Friday, Biden again rejected the notion of an intelligence failure. He said, “it was improbable that the Taliban would surge to power this quickly.”
The president pushed back against the suggestion that events in Afghanistan had tarnished the U.S. reputation on a global scale.
In response, the president asserted that there would be no negative impact on our credibility from partners in other countries.
President Joe Biden described the war in Afghanistan as a “joint effort” with other allied countries and said he would convene a meeting of G7 allies to discuss what comes next.
Graham criticized Biden on Friday for abandoning Afghan allies and said this should lead to a hearing before Congress.
Multiple Democrats have criticized Joe Biden, including New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, chair of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Mr. Menendez plans to obtain a full accounting of what he called “flawed” withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“There will be a lot of questions about why that happened. We will look back on this in our history,” Senator Menendez said.
The White House has responded to criticism by saying President Biden has been engaged in developing plans for the Kabul Airlift and would continue to receive regular briefings from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, as needed.
The U.S. Pentagon has not yet conducted any strikes by August 31, and troops guard Kabul Airport today.