Biden tries to restore calm amid chaos in Kabul

On Friday, Mr Biden, who had traveled back and forth between vacation spots in Camp David and Wilmington, Delaware, answered questions fo...


On Friday, Mr Biden, who had traveled back and forth between vacation spots in Camp David and Wilmington, Delaware, answered questions for the first time since the fall of Afghanistan. He was asked about the international response to the US withdrawal and what military and intelligence officials knew in advance about the precarious situation on the ground. He said he had not been criticized by a US ally for the withdrawal effort, but officials from Germany and Britain have publicly expressed concern about the way it has been conducted.

“What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this stage, with the disappearance of Al Qaeda? Mr. Biden asked in response to a question whether the US allies had criticized the withdrawal effort. “We went to do the mission. You have known my position for a long, long time.

Mr Biden’s claim that al-Qaeda has left the country conflicts with a United Nations report in June, which estimated the terrorist group was still present in at least 15 provinces, while the inspector general of the Defense Department said in a report released on Wednesday, the Taliban continued to provide “safe haven” to Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Scenes of chaos at the airport, which included a young child hoisted over a razor-wire fence into the arms of American soldiers, have added to exam on that of Mr. Biden defense of his decision to withdraw the troops. Mr Biden said the United States had “6,000 of America’s best fighters” working to restore order at the airport and get the locals out.

Since 2002, the United States has employed Afghans to assist its troops, diplomats and aid workers. Many of these people were threatened, attacked, or forced to flee their homes because of their work, prompting Congress in 2009 to establish a visa program specifically for those who had helped the U.S. government, as well as their loved ones.

The program is distinct from the process generally used by those fleeing persecution or torture. About 18,000 people are in the process of applying for the visas, and these applicants have at least 53,000 relatives who would be eligible to join them. Despite a congressional mandate that the United States process visas in nine months, thousands of people have faced long verification delays.

Responding to a question about why he had not allowed the military to expand the perimeter around the airport so more people could access departing flights, Mr Biden said he did not want to open the floodgates, adding that “there will be judgments made on the ground by military commanders and I cannot guess those judgments.” The military cannot expand the perimeter without the president’s permission.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Biden tries to restore calm amid chaos in Kabul
Biden tries to restore calm amid chaos in Kabul
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