President Joe Biden vigorously defended the August 31 withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan and recommitted to evacuating remaining Americans, while Republicans introduced a bill for ensuring accountability.
In a speech to the nation on Tuesday, President Joe Biden gave a fierce defense of the withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan, while recommitting to evacuating remaining Americans.
In his forceful speech, President Biden defended his self-imposed hard deadline of August 31, NBC reported.
“Let me be clear, leaving August the 31st, is not due to an arbitrary deadline,” President Biden said. “It was designed to save American lives.”
“So, we were left with a simple decision,” Biden continued. “Either follow through on the commitment made by the last administration and leave Afghanistan or say we weren’t leaving and commit to another tens of thousands more troops going back to war.”
“That was the choice, the real choice,” Biden claimed. “Between leaving or escalating. I was not going to extend this forever war. And I was not extending a forever exit.”
In his speech, President Biden pushed back against claims of “leaving Americans behind.” Biden said his administration reached out to remaining Americans 19 times, ABC reported.
According to officials, between 100 and 200 Americans wanted to leave Afghanistan but could not.
“The bottom line, 90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” Biden claimed. “And for those remaining Americans, there is no deadline. We remain committed to get them out if they want to come out.”
Prior to the president’s speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican lawmakers criticized Biden for a “reckless withdrawal” from Afghanistan that “created a humanitarian disaster and emboldened the terrorists.”
“Two weeks ago, President Biden specifically promised he wouldn’t pull out before every American who wanted out had gotten out,” McConnell said. “By their own admission, the Biden Administration has now broken that promise.”
On Tuesday, House Republicans pledged to hold the Biden administration accountable for the situation in Afghanistan. Republicans plan to put forth a bill by Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) which seeks to help the Americans remaining in Afghanistan, Fox reported.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), said Gallagher’s bill will also ensure accountability.
“What is the plan to bring Americans home safely?” McCarthy asked. “Not some, but every single American? What about the list of the weaponry that has been left behind, accounting for that?”