US President Joe Biden addressed the Americans concerning the situation in Afghanistan, which on Sunday, August 15, was seized by the radical Islamist Taliban. The text of the appeal was published by the press service of the White House.
"Our mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. It was never supposed to be creating a unified, centralized democracy," he said.
According to Biden, he went to Afghanistan almost 20 years ago with clear goals: get those who attacked us on September 11th, 2001, and "make sure al Qaeda could not use Afghanistan as a base from which to attack us again."
He also stated that the United States spent over a trillion dollars duing the war in Afghanistan. "We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong — incredibly well equipped — a force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies. We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force — something the Taliban doesn’t have. Taliban does not have an air force. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future."
Biden noted that it was wrong to order American troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own armed forces would not. "If the political leaders of Afghanistan were unable to come together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down, they would never have done so while U.S. troops remained in Afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them."
At the same time, he said that they will continue to support the Afghan people. "We will lead with our diplomacy, our international influence, and our humanitarian aid. We’ll continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability. We’ll continue to speak out for the basic rights of the Afghan people — of women and girls — just as we speak out all over the world."
He explained why the evacuation of citizens did not take place earlier:
"I know that there are concerns about why we did not begin evacuating Afghans — civilians sooner. Part of the answer is some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier — still hopeful for their country. And part of it was because the Afghan government and its supporters discouraged us from organizing a mass exodus to avoid triggering, as they said, “a crisis of confidence."
"Our current military mission will be short in time, limited in scope, and focused in its objectives: Get our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible. And once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal. We will end America’s longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed.
As we reported earlier, Taliban fighters took control of the entire territory of Afghanistan on Sunday, August 15th.
President left, Kabul airport came under fire, Taliban took control of the presidential palace.