On 31 August, Joe Biden addressed the nation on the Afghanistan pull-out, calling the mission to evacuate Americans and their allies an “extraordinary success”. Washington is in denial of its failure and might behave even more erratically in the future, international observers say, adding that China and Russia will now come in Biden’s crosshairs.
On Tuesday, President Biden highlighted that Washington’s expectations that the 300,000-strong Afghan national security forces would resist the Taliban advance or that the Ashraf Ghani Cabinet would be able to hold on for a while after the pull-out “turned out not to be accurate”. According to Biden, the only choice in Afghanistan was “between leaving and escalating”: “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit”, he emphasised.
Biden’s attempts to defend the chaotic withdrawal prompted a lively debate in the media which was amplified by the alleged leak of a July 2021 Biden-Ghani phone talk obtained by Reuters. According to the media outlet, the US president told the Afghan president that despite the fight against the Taliban not going well, “there is a need, whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture”. The White House declined to comment on the call, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, 52% of likely US voters said that Biden should resign because of the way the US withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled, according to Rasmussen Reports.