WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden is not backing down from his decision to withdraw U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying in his first interview since the Taliban takeover that he knew there would be chaos and instability no matter what.
“I don’t think it was a failure,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “It was a simple choice.”
Biden also said, for the first time, that U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan to make sure all Americans are able to make it out of the country, even if they have to stay beyond his Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline
His commitment to Afghan allies was less solid, only promising to get everyone out who “should” leave the country.
The president is blaming the Afghans for not using the weapons or training the U.S. gave them over two decades to be able to fight the Taliban. He said the visuals were deflating.
“When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government get in a plane and taking off and going to another country,” Biden said. “When you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, of the 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off.”
Since the takeover, images have surfaced of desperate Afghans rushing to leave the country, climbing onto a U.S. jet and even falling from the sky.
“What I thought was, we have to gain control of this,” Biden said in response to seeing the images. “We have to move this more quickly. We have to move in a way in which we can take control of that airport and we did.”
Biden does not believe the withdrawal could have been handled better, saying the chaos was priced into his decision.
“The idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden said.
He said U.S. forces are having “some difficulty” evacuating Afghan allies such as interpreters who helped U.S. troops. Getting Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas past Taliban controlled security checkpoints to the Kabul airport has been more problematic than evacuating Americans, Biden said.
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