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Biden adds forces for Afghan evacuation, defends withdrawal decision

Published Aug 14, 2021 04:48PM ET Updated Aug 14, 2021 07:50PM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden discusses his 'Build Back Better' agenda and administration efforts to "lower prescription drug prices" during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 12, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
 
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By Idrees Ali and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden said on Saturday that he had approved additional military forces to go to Kabul to help safely draw down the American embassy and remove personnel from Afghanistan.

In a lengthy statement, Biden defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, arguing that Afghan forces had to fight back against Taliban fighters sweeping through the country.

"Based on the recommendations of our diplomatic, military and intelligence teams, I have authorized the deployment of approximately 5,000 U.S. troops to make sure we can have an orderly and safe drawdown of U.S. personnel and other allied personnel," Biden said.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said of the 5,000 Biden announced, 4,000 were already previously announced. About 1,000 were newly approved and would be from the 82nd Airborne Division.

Biden said his administration had told Taliban officials in Qatar that any action that put U.S. personnel at risk "will be met with a swift and strong U.S. military response."

But he also said an indefinite U.S. military presence was not an option.

"One more year, or five more years, of U.S. 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," Biden added.

The troops will also support evacuation of some Afghans going through a special visa program.

The State Department has reached out to advocates to request names of Afghans in Kabul who have worked with the Americans and need to be evacuated, two sources familiar with the matter said. The list could include journalists and human rights activists.

Biden has set a formal end to the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan for Aug. 31 as he looks to disengage from a conflict that started after al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

Biden's move on Saturday came amid growing pressure to adjust a withdrawal plan that is generating some of the harshest criticism of his six months in office.

A Twitter post from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (NYSE:GHM) reflected some of the criticism: "If President Biden truly has no regrets about his decision to withdraw, then he is disconnected from reality when it comes to Afghanistan."

The Taliban have swept through much of Afghanistan, capturing a major city in northern Afghanistan on Saturday and drawing closer to Kabul, where Western countries scrambled to evacuate their citizens from the capital.

Biden adds forces for Afghan evacuation, defends withdrawal decision
 

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Comments (12)
William Smith
William Smith Aug 16, 2021 9:53PM ET
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You wonder who wrote the speech for him and you wonder if he even comprehends what he is saying. To take no questions seems to point to him having no clue what's actually happening.
pcg upstate
pcg upstate Aug 15, 2021 8:52PM ET
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that picture looks like max headroom
Max Dividend
MaxDividend Aug 14, 2021 11:35PM ET
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Biden withdrew troops last week saying that he doesn't regret from withdrawing. Just few days later on Saturday he sends the troops back saying that he still doesn't regret from withdrawing the troops. Somebody must do a functional test in Biden's brain asap
Max Dividend
MaxDividend Aug 14, 2021 11:30PM ET
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One mistake after another from Biden Administration.  Leaving the country in this situation is basically wasting all the time and money that US has invested there, not to mention lives of troops that were lost in the field.
Matt Brackley
Matt Brackley Aug 14, 2021 10:42PM ET
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Taliban fights most elite fighting force for more than a decade....world is surprised when they conquer after the US leaves....
Bill Melton
Bill Melton Aug 14, 2021 10:42PM ET
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Not really. Defense officials recommended support among other strategies. Biden refused.
Yankee Steve
Yankee Steve Aug 14, 2021 10:22PM ET
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We have a man in the white house who dont know what he is doing
IceIce Baby
IceIceBaby Aug 14, 2021 10:22PM ET
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He very well know what he is doing. Leaving Afghanistan makes Russia and China have to interfere there meaning they'll have less focus on other parts of the world.
MA CB
MA CB Aug 14, 2021 9:39PM ET
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wow
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Aug 14, 2021 8:21PM ET
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Pakistant is protecting the Taliban while talking money from usa. Usa is scared to loose Pakistant to the extremist so usa stuck in the mud. Chop Pakistant n U will have a deal.
Farting Joe
Farting Joe Aug 14, 2021 7:57PM ET
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Bret Lafrance
Bret Lafrance Aug 14, 2021 7:29PM ET
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ok Sun, negotiations under T-rump and pompous pilot got no-where, besides, Brush claimed “Mission Accomplished” 20 years ago…, Seperatrly, an afgan refugee told me that the afgan forces would take the us money and arms, talk to the taliban who would retreat. Then the uS led afgans would move forward. then the taliban would take money and arms from the other side, and who’s that, Iran, Syria, russia? and then us funded forced would drop back and thd tsliban would retake, not sure if true but he said lots of afgans were making a living thst way. Also, it sure looks like the majority of the casualties are civilians, so, what are you fighting for, time to pull the plug.
 
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