US President Joe Biden says he stands by his decision to withdraw his country’s troops from Afghanistan, in spite of the current developments.
Afghanistan has witnessed a gradual takeover of various provincial cities — including Kabul, the country’s capital — by Taliban fighters over the recent weeks, following the withdrawal of US forces.
As of Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan fled the country, and based his decision on the need to “avoid bloodshed”.
“The Taliban have made it to remove me, they are here to attack all Kabul and the people of Kabul. In order to avoid the bleeding flood, I thought it was best to get out. Taliban have won the judgement of sword and guns and now they are responsible for protecting the countrymen’s honor, wealth and self-esteem,” Ghani had said in a post on his Facebook page.
As many Afghans attempt to flee the country and the US is currently evacuating its troops and other citizens, stakeholders have expressed concern over what the future holds for the south Asian country, since Taliban fighters have taken over.
Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, Biden said his government was aware of the risks associated with the withdrawal of US troops, but maintained that he took the right decision.
According to him, there was no point allowing American military forces die while fighting for the Afghan people, if the citizens of the south Asian country are unwilling to defend themselves.
“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. We were clear-eyed about the risks. We planned for every contingency, but I always promised the American people that I would be straight with you,” he said.
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. So, what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed sometime without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that any US military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.
“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”
According to the Biden, the US provided all the necessary resources for the Afghan military force to take its stand, adding that the south Asian country needs to decide what it wants for itself.
“We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force with some 300,000 strong and credibly well-equipped — a force larger in size than many of our military’s NATO allies,” he said.
“We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their force — something the Taliban doesn’t have. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future. What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future.”