Blame game in Washington on Taliban success

Friday, August 20th, 2021 00:00 |
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid (left) at the first press briefing in Kabul after the city’s takeover. Photo/Agencies

Washington, Thursday

Blame game has intensified in Washington as the While House is scrambling to contain the fallout of a humiliating end to the 20-year war in Afghanistan and Republicans are sparing no efforts to exploit President Joe Biden’s handling of the messy withdrawal from Kabul.

“I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that ... but the idea that somehow, to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” said Biden in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday.

Reiterating his defence of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden blamed the Afghan government and the US-trained Afghan military for not more forcibly defending the capital of Kabul which fell to the Taliban militia on Sunday.

The militia, which the US overthrew in 2001, has taken over Afghanistan just two weeks before the United States was planning to complete its withdrawal of troops from the war-torn country.

In a televised speech from the White House on Monday, Biden made similar remarks during which he also cast blame on his predecessor for the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan.

“The choice I had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the Taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season,” Biden said, referring the deal former US President Donald Trump inked with the Taliban to withdraw US forces by May 1.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on his Fox News show Tuesday night, Trump called Biden’s handling of the situation “the greatest embarrassment in the history of our country while blaming Biden for not getting American soldiers and civilians out of the country in time.

The two senior politicians actually started to play the blaming game on Saturday when the threat of Kabul falling to the Taliban loomed large.Biden then criticized Trump for empowering the Taliban and leaving them “in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”

Trump responded with a statement that Biden had “ran out of Afghanistan instead of following the plan our Administration left for him.”

The Biden administration is about to face a grilling from both the House and Senate over the bungled US exit from Afghanistan, reported The Hill, a US political website, on Wednesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent Biden a letter on Wednesday requesting a briefing or call next week for the “Gang of Eight” -- the top four congressional leaders and top members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, said the report. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also requested three briefings.

Democrats “largely support Biden’s ultimate endgame of withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan” while Republicans are launching “heavy broadsides against Biden, viewing the Afghanistan exit a messy misstep of his own making,” it said.”

This is President Biden’s Saigon moment,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation, referring to the chaotic departure from Vietnam in 1975.  - Xinhua

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