Biden Vows To Complete Evacuation Mission In Afghanistan
US President Joe Biden on Friday vowed to continue efforts to evacuate Americans and others from the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and called it one of the most difficult missions of its kind in history, Kyodo News reported.
Photo Insert: U.S. President Joe Biden
Speaking at the White House, Biden stressed that the United States has gotten around 13,000 people out of the war-torn country since the evacuation operation started on Aug. 14.
"This is one of the largest, most difficult airlifts in history," he said. "And the only country in the world capable of projecting this much power on the far side of the world with this degree of precision is the United States of America." Biden has been under fire over a chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan amid the Taliban's recent takeover of the country.
His predecessor Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban that US forces would leave Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, and their presence had already drawn down from around 15,500 to 2,500 troops during his administration, according to the White House.
Trump negotiated with the Taliban without the participation of the Afghan government under President Ashraf Ghani. He freed 5,000 prisoners and lifted financial sanctions that allowed the Taliban to secure more weapons and recruit more fighters, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Asked if US allies question Washington's leadership of the mission in Afghanistan after a surprisingly quick fall of the government led by President Ashraf Ghani, Biden said, "I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the world."
He also indicated that the US will impose strict conditions such as respect for women's rights if it chooses to recognize a Taliban-led government as legitimate.
While vowing to ensure the safe evacuation of all Americans, partners, and Afghans who are associated with US missions in the country, the president declined to say how many people the US plans to transfer from Afghanistan.