President Joe Biden says the chaos in Afghanistan couldn’t have been avoided.
“Look, one of the things we didn’t know is what the Taliban would do in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What would they do? What are they doing now?” the president told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos during a televised interview Wednesday. “They’re cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, etc., but they’re having — we’re having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there.”
An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Americans and tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghans are trying to leave Afghanistan. Civilians have swamped planes at the Kabul airport.
President Biden said U.S. troops will remain until all Americans are evacuated. He said the goal remains to do that by Aug. 31, but he’s prepared to have troops remain after Aug. 31 if there are more Americans to be evacuated.
Pentagon officials Wednesday said they’re working with the Taliban to make sure Americans safely reach the Kabul airport.
The crisis in Afghanistan has set the stage for bipartisan criticism of President Biden’s handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Biden administration officials are expected to start answering questions from Congress as early as next week. Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he will work with other committees to determine why the U.S. wasn’t better prepared.
Information for this story came from reports by various national media sources.