President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday to announce the final withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He said that the decision to stay within the limits of the August 31 deadline he set and later declared by the Taliban to be a “red line” was supported by every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Biden said in advance of his address that he also had the support of all ground commanders to end the airlift mission “as planned.” Biden said that the commanders viewed completing the task as the best way to protect the lives of military personnel and would still “secure the prospects” for civilians who still want to leave Afghanistan.
Two weeks before heavily emphasizing the consensus coming from the Pentagon, Biden said “the buck stops with me” regarding the schedule and tactics used for withdrawal.
Biden said he had directed the State Department to lead the “continued coordination” with allied countries to enable safe evacuation for remaining Americans and Afghan “partners” who wanted to leave Afghanistan. Biden also expressed hope that the Taliban would comply with a UN resolution passed on Monday urging them to allow free travel for persons wishing to leave. Of course, he did not cite any facts that would demonstrate the Taliban’s reliability in that regard.
Biden asked Americans to give “grateful prayers” for U.S. troops who carried out the airlift mission from the Kabul airport. He also recited the 13 service members killed due to the August 26 suicide bomb attack at the airport gates.
The president has been roundly criticized for first failing to stick with President Donald Trump’s negotiated May 1 withdrawal date and then stubbornly holding to the August 31 date he unilaterally declared and broadcast to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS-K.
Four senators and 39 House members have demanded that Biden resign or be impeached due to the botched Afghanistan withdrawal.