President Joe Biden’s efforts to oversee an “orderly and safe” drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan ended in unarguable disaster over the weekend as Taliban forces swarmed into the country’s capital, marking what reports described as a “brutal loss” for the White House that’s only getting worse with each passing day.
According to Axios, White House officials had said as recently as Friday that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul would be remaining open despite the withdrawal of American troops. “We plan to continue our diplomatic work in Afghanistan,” one source told the outlet.
But as embassy staffers were ultimately evacuated late Sunday, video taken in Kabul showed scenes of chaos and anguish in the Afghan capital that are simply hard to watch.
A gruesome scene in Kabul
Among images shared by Breitbart on Saturday were clips showing Taliban fighters seizing the home of a pro-American warlord named Rashid Dostum. Other footage reportedly showed a massive number of Afghan military personal attempting to seek refuge in neighboring Uzbekistan.
ANDSF fleeing into Uzbekistan 🇺🇿 on the bridge after fleeing from the city of Mazari Sharif. Not clear if the Uzbek government will grant them the permission. pic.twitter.com/PbM8k20o09
— BILAL SARWARY (@bsarwary) August 14, 2021
More gruesome video emerged following the fall of Afghanistan’s capital as thousands desperately sought a means of escape.
According to the Associated Press, some Afghans appeared to try to cling to the sides of a departing United States Air Force C-17 transport plane as it was taking off from Kabul, resulting in “several falling through the air as the airplane rapidly gained altitude over the city.” Meanwhile, many Afghans who served as aides and interpreters for U.S. forces stationed in the country during the last two decades of conflict remain trapped there, Fox News reports.
Biden points fingers
As the heartwrenching scene unfolds in Kabul, President Biden, for his part, is busy playing the blame game. He told Americans in a televised address Monday afternoon that he and his national security team were “closely monitoring” the situation in Afghanistan, but suggested he “inherited” a raw deal with regard to the Taliban from former President Donald Trump.
Still, he claimed to stand behind his decision. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said, according to a transcript from The New York Times.
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” the president added of the situation in Afghanistan before again pointing fingers. “The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,” he claimed. “If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”
So far, however, it seems even members of the president’s own party don’t wholly agree. “Dire conditions on the ground persist today and without swift, decisive action from the administration, Afghan civilians will suffer or die at the hands of the Taliban,” New Hampshire Democrat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said, according to NPR.
The top Republican in the Senate put it a little more bluntly. “The rapid advance of the Taliban was expected after the U.S. abandonment of Afghan security forces,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “Everyone saw this coming except the president.”