US President Joe Biden
US President Joe Biden

Biden says US will evacuate Americans, support safe departure of allies' personnel from Afghanistan

ANI | Updated: Aug 17, 2021 04:52 IST

Washington [US], August 17 (ANI): US President Joe Biden on Monday said America will evacuate thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and support the safe departure of personnel of its allies still in the war-torn country.
"Over the coming days, we intend to transport out thousands of American citizens who have been living and working in Afghanistan. We'll also continue to support the safe departure of civilian personnel, the civilian personnel of our allies who are still serving in Afghanistan."
In his first remarks since the Afghan government collapsed and Kabul fell to the Taliban, Biden said he stood by his decision to end the longest war in the United States history by withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.
Taliban entered Kabul early on Sunday and took control of the presidential palace. Thousands of people rushed to the Kabul airport to leave the country.
Several videos surfaced showing hundreds of Afghans desperately running after military planes as they ferried Americans to safety out of the country's capital.
Biden acknowledged how "painful" the "scenes that we're seeing in Afghanistan" are for many people, in particular veterans and others who have "spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people."
"The scenes that we're seeing in Afghanistan, they're gut-wrenching, particularly for our veterans, our diplomats, humanitarian workers, for anyone who has spent time on the ground working to support the Afghan people. For those who have lost loved ones in Afghanistan, and for Americans who have fought and served in the country, this is deeply, deeply personal. It is for me as well."
Biden remained at the Camp David presidential retreat with members of his family over the weekend as chaotic images from Kabul emerged. He returned to Washington today ahead of his address.
Despite facing severe criticism for withdrawing American troops, the President has remained resolute in his decision.
"I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces. That's why we're still there."
Biden said he had weighed the risks carefully before making the decision but acknowledged that the situation on the ground had devolved more quickly than he anticipated.
"We were clear-eyed about the risks," he said. "We planned for every contingency. But, I always promised the American people that I will be straight with you. The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated." (ANI)