President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that American units will be deployed in Kabul until all U.S. citizens are evacuated from there, even if the military will have to stay in the Taliban-controlled capital of Afghanistan longer than expected.
In his first interview after Taliban militants seized the Afghan capital, which led to panic and the flight of foreigners and Afghans who helped the Western military, Biden said that “chaos” in Kabul was “inevitable.” The interview aired on ABC News.
President Biden recalled that in the spring he said that the deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. military units from Afghanistan is August 31. However, he admitted that American soldiers could stay in the country longer if it was necessary in order to evacuate every single American from there. “If American citizens stay there, we will stay to take everyone out,” Biden said.
The President did not specify for how long the American military presence in Afghanistan may be delayed.
At the moment, the Taliban are not interfering with the American military in the process of evacuating people from the Kabul airport. However, the militants control the rest of the capital’s territory, and, in fact, they can allow or prohibit entry to the airport territory, and foreign military personnel are severely restricted in movement outside the airport they control.
In an interview with ABC News, Biden said that there was no easy way out of the situation in principle.
“The idea that there was some way to get out of this without chaos-I do not know how this is possible,” Biden said.
He added that the Taliban are currently helping the U.S. military, with whom they have been fighting for so many years – at least by helping foreign citizens leave the country.
“They cooperate, allow American citizens, American personnel, embassies and so on to leave,” the head of the White House said.
Nevertheless, “we have difficulties with the removal of those who helped us when we were there,” Biden added, apparently referring to Afghans who used to work together with Americans and military personnel from other countries, and now fear retribution from the Taliban.
The president rejected criticism that the evacuation from Afghanistan was a real failure of his administration. “It was an easy choice,” Biden said.
Referring to the almost instant collapse of the Western-backed Afghan government and Afghan security forces in the face of the advancing Taliban, the American leader clarified that he was still convinced of the need to continue the withdrawal of the U.S. military from the country.
When asked what feelings the president experienced at the moment when videos appeared on the network with panicked Afghans flooding the Kabul airport, and with people who climbed on a military transport plane and fell off it during takeoff, Joe Biden replied that at that moment he reasoned like this: “We must take control of the situation, we must act faster. We must act in such a way that we can take control of the airport. And we did it.”