UPDATED 9:22 AM PT – Wednesday, September 1, 2021
A transcript obtained by Reuters has recently revealed Joe Biden told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that his country’s military would be able to fight off the Taliban. The 14-minute conversation took place on July 23, just weeks before the Taliban took over the country.
Biden had also told Ghani they would help the Afghan government survive, but stated there was a perception problem with its government. However, 24 hours after the last U.S. troop left the region, Biden has continued to defend his disastrous pullout.
Meanwhile, more than a hundred Americans are still stranded in Kabul, despite the decades long war coming to an end. Biden addressed the nation from the White House for the first time since the U.S. completely pulled out of Afghanistan.
He was two hours late for Tuesday’s speech, which came 24 hours after the war officially ended. Biden took a combative and defensive tone after critics in the media lambasted his strategy as chaotic following the loss of 13 U.S. service members and more than 180 Afghan citizens.
However, Biden called it a great success.
“The extraordinary success of this mission was due to the incredible skill, bravely and selfless courage of the United States military and our diplomats and intelligence professionals.”
The United States stands by the commitment we’ve made to evacuate people—and this includes vulnerable Afghans, such as women leaders and journalists. pic.twitter.com/kfjfyKmBcM
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 24, 2021
Biden said the decision to pull troops out abruptly was that of a unanimous recommendation by leaders in the State Department, the Department of Defense and other commanders in the field. He added it was time to end this decades long war and acknowledged the terrorist presence in Kabul would remain strong.
Looking forward, Biden has vowed to look after those, especially women and children, who are trapped under the Taliban’s rule. “We’ll continue to support the Afghan people through diplomacy, international influence and humanitarian aid,” said Biden.
Though there are no more U.S. personnel left in the war-torn country, Biden has signaled the U.S. will continue to be active in Afghanistan as long as there’s still a terrorist threat.