US president Biden pins blame for Afghanistan debacle on Ghani govt 

WION Web Team
Washington  Published: Aug 17, 2021, 08:53 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden (file photo). Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In a much-awaited televised address from the White House, US President Joe Biden suggested that they lacked will to stand up to the Taliban. After several days of silence on the momentous developments, Biden said, "The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated." The president also passed scathing criticism on now-ousted Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who he said ignored his advice on greater unity among leaders and the pursuit of a diplomatic solution

Acknowledging Afghan government collapsed more quickly than expected, US President Joe Biden suggested in a much-awaited televised address from the White House that they lacked will to stand up to the Taliban. 

After several days of silence on the momentous developments, Biden said, "The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated." 

Putting the blame squarely with Afghan military and civilian leadership, Biden said, "We gave them every tool they could need. We provided close air support. What we could not provide is the will to fight for their future." 

Biden added, "So what’s happened? Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight." 

The US troops should not be fighting or dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves, said the president. 

"We spent over a trillion dollars. 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," he emphasised.  

"I am president of the United States of America and the buck stops with me," Biden said. 

The president also passed scathing criticism on now-ousted Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, who he said ignored his advice on greater unity among leaders and the pursuit of a diplomatic solution. 

Commenting on the scenes of mayhem unfolding in Kabul, Biden said he was "deeply saddened" and promised to "speak out" on the rights of women under Taliban rule. 

The US president is facing a torrent of criticism over the chaotic end to two decades of US-led military intervention. 

Insisting he did not regret pulling out US troops, Biden said, "I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw US forces." 

(With inputs from agencies)

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