McCarthy says Afghan withdrawal is an ’embarrassment’ but Biden blames Trump’s deal with the Taliban and says he ‘can’t make Kabul fight’: INCREASES troop deployment for evacuation to 5,000

  • President Biden has defended the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, and insisted: ‘One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference’
  • The withdrawal was blasted by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy as an ’embarrassment to our nation’
  • Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell called for airstrikes against the Taliban on Friday 
  • US Embassy will be evacuated in 72 hours, with some staffers already at Kabul airport, according to reports 
  • News of the evacuation broke shortly after the Taliban took the northern  Afghan stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif, and now controls the territories to the North, South and East of Kabul
  • US Embassy staff in Kabul will destroy ‘sensitive’ materials, which a Department of State spokesperson said was ‘standard operating procedure’ to avoid propaganda efforts
  • The first two waves of 5,000 Marines and Army soldiers arrived to help evacuate Kabul and the rest are expected to reach the city by Sunday evening 
  • Officials said two Marine battalions and an Army battalion were deployed to the Embassy 
  • The Taliban has moved within seven miles of Kabul and tightened their grip around the capital  
  • Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said, ‘Afghanistan is in serious danger of instability’
  • He said he’s engaging with Afghan and international leaders, and consultations are ‘urgently ongoing and the results will soon be shared’
  • President Joe Biden  was on his way to Camp David in Maryland on Friday but didn’t speak to reporters and hasn’t made any public comments Saturday

By CHRISTOPHER EBERHART FOR DAILYMAIL.COM

PUBLISHED: 08:12 EDT, 14 August 2021 | UPDATED: 19:29 EDT, 14 August 2021

President Biden has defended the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan even as the Taliban take over whole swathes of the country – and has blamed predecessor Donald Trump for a deal that left the warlords ‘in the strongest position militarily since 2001’.

He also announced that he was increasing the number of US troops being deployed to protect the withdrawal from the US embassy to 5,000. 

Around 1,000 service members are already on the ground and 3,000 more were already being sent next week, before officials announced the deployment of an extra 1,000 as the situation escalated Saturday.  

The US Embassy in Afghanistan will be evacuated in 72 hours under the protection of the military, and some staffers have already arrived at the Kabul international airport, according to reports.  

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Saturday to discuss the ‘urgency of ongoing diplomatic and political efforts to reduce the violence,’ the State Department said in a statement. 

‘The Secretary emphasized the United States’ commitment to a strong diplomatic and security relationship with the Government of Afghanistan and our continuing support for the people of Afghanistan.’   

The president has been slammed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for the ‘complete mismanagement’ of the Afghanistan withdrawal, with US defense officials warning it could be just a matter of a couple days before the Taliban seizes control of Kabul, a city with more than four million people. 

McCarthy said: ‘The White House has no discernible plan other than pleading with the Taliban. The bungled withdrawal, reminiscent of his failed withdrawal from Iraq, is an embarrassment to our nation.’

‘President Biden must continue to provide the close air support necessary for the Afghan government to protect themselves from the Taliban and make sure al Qaeda and ISIS do not gain a foothold due to the Biden administration’s disastrous policies.’

But Biden hit back in a statement from Camp David on Saturday afternoon, insisting that he could not force the Afghan army to fight.

He said: ‘One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.’ 

He also hit out at predecessor Trump for the deal with the Taliban that led to the recent withdrawal.

He said: ‘When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001.

‘Shortly before he left office, he also drew US forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500.

‘When I became President, I faced a choice—follow through on the deal, with a brief extension to get our forces and our allies’ forces out safely, or ramp up our presence and send more American troops to fight once again in another country’s civil conflict. 

‘I was the fourth President to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan—two Republicans, two Democrats. I would not, and will not, pass this war onto a fifth.’

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