Is the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban inevitable? They asked the president of the United States (USA), Joe Biden, on July 8 during a press conference at the White House. “No,” he answered bluntly.
“It is not inevitable because the Afghan Army has 300,000 well-equipped troops. As well-equipped as any Army in the world and they also have an Air Force, and they face about 75,000 Taliban. It is not inevitable,” he said.
Then another journalist questioned Biden: “Mr. President, your intelligence services anticipate that the Afghan government will likely collapse.”. Biden’s reaction was immediate and categorical: “That’s not true.” The US president intended to convey security but could not help but show that he was really uncomfortable.
“Can you clarify what you’ve been told about whether or not that will happen?”the journalist insisted.
“That is not true, the intelligence services did not reach that conclusion,” Biden said.
The journalist returned to the charge: “So, What is the level of confidence they have that it is not going to collapse? “
Looking at the images of the press conference, it seems, at times, that the American leader wants to disappear. But he continued to flee forward with his explanations: “The government and the Afghan leaders have to come together. It is clear that they have the ability to keep the government in office. The question is: will they generate the kind of cohesion to do so? It’s about whether they have the ability. They have the ability. They have the strength. They have the equipment. The question is, will they do it? “
Later, another reporter inquired: “Mr. President, some Vietnam veterans see echoes of your experience in this withdrawal from Afghanistan. Do you see any parallels between this withdrawal and what happened in Vietnam?, with some people feeling …? “
He couldn’t finish the question. Biden’s aggressiveness was obvious: “None at all. Zero. What happened were entire brigades breaking through the doors of our Embassy … six, if I’m not mistaken. The Taliban are not the North Vietnamese Army. They are neither Remotely comparable in terms of capacity. There is not going to be any circumstance where you see people being rescued from the roof of a US Embassy in Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable. So the question is: What are you going to do from now? That … is not yet known. the likelihood of the Taliban taking over everything and owning the entire country is highly unlikely “.
The US president could not have been more unfortunate on July 8, but the White House continues to defend that the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is the right decision.
Thirty-nine days after that press conference, the White House National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, said on Monday that US President Joe Biden did not consider it “inevitable” that the Taliban would control Kabul after the withdrawal of US troops and blamed the Afghan forces for not having wanted to defend their country from the insurgents.
In an interview on the network ABCSullivan came up against criticism facing Biden for Afghanistan’s abrupt fall under Taliban control and scenes of panic in the capital, where thousands of people are trying to leave the country.
Sullivan accused Afghan forces of “failing to step forward” to defend Afghanistandespite the “billions of dollars” that Washington has contributed in military training and equipment.
However, he stressed that Biden still considers the decision to order the military withdrawal from Afghanistan as the correct one after more than 20 years of war.
“The question faced by the president in April (…) is whether we should send US men and women to a civil war in another country when their own Army is not fighting to defend them. And the answer to that question is no.” Sullivan stated.
The words of the senior US official coincide with the reports about the chaos at the Kabul airport, with thousands of people trying to leave the country by plane and that has left at least six dead.
Sullivan indicated that Biden will address the American people “soon” to comment on developments in Afghanistan, although he did not give more details about it.
The US completed the transfer to the Kabul airport of all the personnel of its embassy in Afghanistan on Sunday, hours after starting an air evacuation from that complex that was reminiscent of the one carried out during the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Late on Sunday in Washington (around 6am on Monday morning in Kabul), the State Department confirmed that it had “completed” the process to transport the roughly 4,000 employees of its embassy in the Afghan capital to the airport.
For its part, The Pentagon also authorized this Sunday to send 1,000 more soldiers to Kabul, which means that, within 48 hours, there will be “approximately 6,000” US servicemen at the airport in the Afghan capital.
In addition, US forces have “taken over” air traffic control at Kabul airport, to facilitate evacuations of US citizens and those of their allies.