Interrupting his vacation, President Biden returned to the White House from Camp David on Monday to address the nation regarding the Taliban’s swift takeover of Afghanistan upon the U.S. withdrawal, arguing American troops should not be fighting and dying in a war that Afghans aren’t willing to fight.
“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said. “After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.”
He deflected responsibility, arguing he’s the fourth American president to deal with Afghanistan, which he noted is known as “the graveyard of empires.”
On Sunday, the Taliban’s takeover of the capital, Kabul, forced Americans to abandon the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
“We were clear-eyed about the risk,” Biden insisted. “We planned for every contingency.”
Biden said he “inherited” President Trump’s deal with the Taliban in which troops would withdraw May 1. 2021.
Under Trump, he said, the U.S. already had drawn down from 15,500 troops to 2,500.
“The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban during the spring fighting season,” he said.
There would be no “status quo of stability without American casualities,” he said.
Former President Trump reacted with a statement.