Biden said he stands on his own 'decision' to withdraw US and NATO forces from Afghanistan before preparing the ground adequately against a terrorist gang to take over.
New Delhi: US President Joe Biden on August 17 made a statement at a special briefing at the White House on Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, but his remarks fell short of expectations for millions of Americans.
Angry reactions poured on social media and TV debates on CNN and BBC, with experts and common citizens sharing their grievances.
"John Kirby (Pentagon spokesperson) says that the military did plan for the fall of Kabul. But they didn't predict that the Afghan military would give up so quickly. Incompetence top to bottom," wrote Melissa Mackenzie angrily on Twitter.
Of course, other media reports were also equally critical.
On CNN, one expert said, Biden's speech/message focused on the 'decision' to leave Afghanistan, but what is important to underline is that there is a difference between mere 'withdrawal' and the execution…how it is done.
He said the real issue haunting the Biden administration is the 'shambolic' execution of the withdrawal decision.
“This hasn’t been a 20-year war. It’s been one-year wars fought 20 times,” Reuters news agency quoted a US military official to convey the frustration with short-term thinking and a lack of consistency over four administrations – two Democratic Presidents and two Republicans.”
Biden said he stands on his own 'decision' to withdraw US and NATO forces from Afghanistan before preparing the ground adequately against a terrorist gang to take over, but he blasted at Afghan army, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
In a maiden message to the nation at a special briefing within hours after falling of Kabul, Biden asserted that the mission of the United States in Afghanistan was never supposed to be 'nation building'. He declined to field questions.
Biden straightway blamed the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the Afghan army to fight the militant group.
And he also said he was rather helpless as the Trump administration had already inked a pact.
"The choice I had to make as a President was to follow the agreement (inked during Trump administration) or to go back to fight Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season."
"I stand squarely behind my decision…. After 20 years I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That's why we're still there."
"The truth is: this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated. So what's happened? Afghanistan's political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military gave up, sometimes without trying to fight," Biden said.
Richard N. Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations and author of 'The World: A Brief Introduction' – tweeted: "It is impossible to square Joe Biden claim that human rights are at the center (and not the periphery) of US foreign policy and his decisions in Afghanistan. Either he should have done more there or should stop asserting principles we are unable or unwilling to make good on."
On the pact inked between the Trump regime and the Taliban, journalist David French of 'The Dispatch' said: "Joe Biden was not bound by Trump's grotesquely irresponsible agreement with the Taliban. The Taliban had already violated its terms. It can be true that Trump's agreement was a travesty. This retreat is shameful, callous, and deeply harmful to our national security."
Highlights of Biden's all-important message on fall of Kabul
- – Our mission in Afghanistan was never nation-building. It was to fight terror/Al Qaeda.
- – I know my decision will be criticised. I will take those, rather pass on (the responsibility) to the next President.
- – We have told the Taliban if our staff attacked, our works disturbed, the US action will be swift.