Faced with pugnacious questions astir leaving Afghanistan, including Americans near behind, President Joe Biden planned to code the federation Tuesday astir the mode guardant aft 20 years of U.S. war.
Biden is nether dense criticism, peculiarly from Republicans, for his handling of the last evacuation, which successfully airlifted much than 120,000 radical from Kabul airdrome but near much than 100 Americans behind.
The White House signaled Biden would look to statesman turning the country connected Afghanistan with his address.
“He volition marque wide that arsenic president, helium volition attack our overseas argumentation done the prism of what is successful our nationalist interests, including however champion to proceed to support the American radical safe,” property caput Jen Psaki said successful statement.
The past Air Force transport level departed Kabul 1 infinitesimal earlier midnight Monday, raising questions astir wherefore Biden didn't proceed the airlift for astatine slightest different day. He had acceptable Tuesday arsenic a deadline for ending the evacuation and pulling retired remaining troops aft the Taliban took implicit the country.
In a written connection Monday, Biden said subject commanders unanimously favored ending the airlift alternatively of extending it. He said helium asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken to coordinate with planetary partners to clasp the Taliban to their committedness of harmless transition for Americans and others who privation to permission successful the days ahead.
Thousands of troops spent a harrowing 2 weeks protecting the airlift of Afghans, Americans and others seeking to flight a state erstwhile again ruled by Taliban militants.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, caput of U.S. Central Command, said helium believed remaining Americans who privation to permission volition inactive beryllium capable to. He called the concern heartbreaking but said that adjacent if U.S. forces had stayed different 10 days, “we wouldn’t person gotten everybody retired that we wanted to get out, and determination inactive would person been radical who would person been disappointed with that. It’s a pugnacious situation.”
Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, caput of U.S. Central Command, said Monday the U.S. had completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, marking an extremity to the longest warfare successful American history. “The past manned craft is present clearing the airspace supra Afghanistan,” McKenzie said.
Blinken enactment the fig of Americans inactive successful Afghanistan astatine nether 200, “likely person to 100,” and said the State Department would support moving to get them out. He said the U.S. diplomatic beingness would displacement to Doha, Qatar.
Jake Sullivan, Biden's nationalist information adviser, said Tuesday of the effort to get remaining Americans out: “It's conscionable that it has shifted from a subject ngo to a diplomatic mission." On ABC's “Good Morning America," helium cited “considerable leverage” implicit the Taliban to implicit that effort.
The closing hours of the evacuation were marked by bonzer drama. American troops faced the daunting task of getting last evacuees onto planes portion besides getting themselves and immoderate of their instrumentality out, adjacent arsenic they monitored repeated threats — and astatine slightest 2 existent attacks — by the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate. A termination bombing connected Aug. 26 killed 13 American work members and immoderate 169 Afghans. More died successful assorted incidents during the airdrome evacuation.
The last pullout fulfilled Biden's pledge to extremity what helium called a “forever war” that began successful effect to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that killed astir 3,000 radical successful New York, Washington and agrarian Pennsylvania. His decision, announced successful April, reflected a nationalist weariness of the Afghanistan conflict.
In Biden's presumption the warfare could person ended 10 years agone with the U.S. sidesplitting of Osama bin Laden, whose al-Qaida extremist web planned and executed the 9/11 crippled from an Afghanistan sanctuary. Al-Qaida has been vastly diminished, preventing it frankincense acold from again attacking the United States.
Congressional committees, whose involvement successful the warfare waned implicit the years, are expected to clasp nationalist hearings connected what went incorrect successful the last months of the U.S. withdrawal. Why, for example, did the medication not statesman earlier the evacuation of American citizens arsenic good arsenic Afghans who had helped the U.S. warfare effort?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., connected Tuesday described the Biden administration's handling of the evacuation arsenic “probably the biggest nonaccomplishment successful American authorities connected a subject signifier successful my lifetime" and promised that Republicans would property the White House for answers connected what went wrong.
“We tin ne'er marque this mistake again,” McCarthy said.
"I volition marque definite that I basal with you. I volition bash immoderate I tin to bring you to safety." Ismail Khan says his relatives successful Afghanistan are doing OK and successful hiding from the Taliban. But different families are successful information and privation to travel to the U.S. soon, though they look a agelong paperwork process. "John McCain was involved, helium enactment my paperwork through, and it took 4 years to get here," says Khan.
It was not expected to extremity this way. The administration's plan, aft declaring its volition to retreat each combat troops, was to support the U.S. Embassy successful Kabul open, protected by a unit of astir 650 U.S. troops, including a contingent that would unafraid the airdrome on with spouse countries. Washington planned to springiness the now-defunct Afghan authorities billions much to prop up its army.
Biden present faces doubts astir his program to forestall al-Qaida from regenerating successful Afghanistan and of suppressing threats posed by different extremist groups specified arsenic the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate. The Taliban are enemies of the Islamic State radical but clasp links to al-Qaida.
The velocity with which the Taliban captured Kabul connected Aug. 15 caught the Biden medication by surprise. It forced the U.S. to bare its embassy and frantically accelerate an evacuation effort that featured an bonzer airlift executed chiefly by the U.S. Air Force, with American crushed forces protecting the airfield. The airlift began successful specified chaos that a fig of Afghans died connected the airfield, including astatine slightest 1 who attempted to cling to a C-17 transport level arsenic it sped down the runway.
Associated Press writer Aamer Madhani contributed reporting.