Afghanistan: Biden ‘was playing politics’ says Neil
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US President Joe Biden has said he stands “squarely” behind the US exit from Afghanistan after almost 20 years of a US-led coalition’s presence in the country. The Taliban have seized control of the country. GB News presenter Andrew Neil claimed Mr Biden is “playing politics”. He said: “Joe Biden didn’t have to continue with that, he didn’t have to see that deal through.
“He could have changed it. There was a bipartisan group called the Afghan study group that was set up by Congress, Republicans and Democrats.
“They say things were going quite well, life has been returning to normal if we could keep about 4,500 troops to give backbone to the Afghan army, to give intel and above all to provide air cover.
“We can make this work and yet for the life of me President Biden wouldn’t go down that road.
“I think he was playing politics.
“He see the midterm elections coming up, he could lose the Senate, he could lose the House; that tends to happen in the early midterm elections and he wants to be able to say, ‘hey, I was the one who got us out of Afghanistan’.
“I think it was very short-sighted because this story is not over.”
It comes as the Biden administration has not yet begun a promised review of its handling of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, as officials focus on the more immediate issue of evacuations, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
President Joe Biden, facing strong criticism from bipartisan lawmakers for his handling of the crisis, told ABC News in an interview on Wednesday “we’re going to go back in hindsight and look” at whether the US exit could have been conducted in a better way.
Biden: Taliban ‘pulling all the shots’ says Andrew Neil
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that “we will conduct an extensive hotwash,” meaning a performance evaluation, on how the pullout was handled.
“We will take a look at every aspect of this from top to bottom,” he said.
The source, asked Thursday if the review had begun, told Reuters on the condition of anonymity that the US focus for now is on operations on the ground and getting as many people out of Afghanistan as possible.
Several congressional committees have promised to hold hearings and House Intelligence Committee is to receive a classified briefing on Monday on the situation from the intelligence community.
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Biden told ABC Wednesday that “the idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”
Flag-waving protesters took to the streets of more Afghan cities on Thursday as popular opposition to the Taliban spread, and a witness said several people were killed when the militants fired on a crowd in Asadabad in the east.
“Our flag, our identity,” a crowd of men and women waving black, red and green national flags shouted in the capital Kabul, a video clip posted on social media showed, on the day Afghanistan celebrates independence from British control in 1919.
A witness reported gunshots fired near the rally, but they appeared to be armed Taliban shooting in the air.
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