Afghan leaders responsible
for Taliban takeover: Joe Biden

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WASHINGTON: Staunchly defending his move to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) admitted that the situation in the war-torn country unfolded more quickly than America anticipated.

Addressing the nation from the East Room in the White House, his first speech after Kabul fell to the Taliban and the Ashraf Ghani government collapsed, Biden put the blame for the current situation on the Afghan leaders, saying they gave up and fled the country.

“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I have learned the hard way that there was no good time to withdraw US forces,” he said.

“We were clear-eyed about the risk. The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So what happened. Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed,” he added.

Joe Biden

Afghanistan government collapsed earlier on Sunday with President Ashraf Ghani leaving the country.  Taliban entered Kabul early Sunday and have taken control of the presidential palace.

Biden remained at the Camp David presidential retreat with members of his family

He returned to Washington today ahead of his address and spoke on the matter which has become the most serious test of Biden’s foreign policy since he took office.

Despite facing severe criticism for withdrawing American troops, the President has remained resolute in his decision.

The US is sending troops to secure the airport, a sign of the complicated and contradictory process of winding down America’s longest war.

Several countries have evacuated diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan and crowds of people flocked to the Kabul airport in an attempt to leave the country. 

Allocates $500m for refugees

US President Joe Biden has decided to allocate up to 500 million dollars to help refugees from Afghanistan, the White House said in a statement on Monday (local time).

“I hereby determine… that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the MRAA in an amount not to exceed $500 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected urgent refugee and migration needs of refugees, victims of conflict, and other persons at risk as a result of the situation in Afghanistan,” Biden said in a memorandum for the Secretary of State.

The US has been withdrawing its forces as the military mission in Afghanistan is on the verge of ending. “I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said in a televised address to the nation from the White House East Room.

His remarks came a day after the Taliban takeover of Kabul. He said that the US military mission will be short and focused on “getting our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible.”

Taliban entered Kabul on Sunday and took control of the presidential palace. Taliban leaders have been discussing future government plans in Doha after gaining control of Kabul, as per a media report.

Panic has gripped the Afghan capital as people fear a return to the Taliban’s brutal rule and the threat of reprisal killings. Thousands of Afghans flooded the tarmac on Monday morning, at one point swarming around a departing US military plane as it taxied down the runway. (ANI)