The Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby and Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters held a briefing after America’s Afghanistan exit.
Watch the briefing in the player above.
With the U.S. involvement in the war over and all American military out of the country, Biden is grappling with the prospects of a new relationship with the Taliban. He has tasked Secretary of State Antony Blinken with coordinating with international partners to hold the Taliban to their promise of safe passage for Americans and others who want to leave in the days ahead.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, has described the U.S. relationship with the Taliban during the evacuation as “very pragmatic and very businesslike,” saying they helped secure the airport. But other reports from people in Afghanistan described shootings, violence and Taliban moves to block desperate Afghans from getting through the gates.
Biden in an address to the nation Tuesday defended his decision to end America’s longest war and withdraw all U.S. troops by an Aug. 31 deadline.
“I was not going to extend this forever war,” Biden declared from the White House. “And I was not going to extend a forever exit.”
Biden is coming under heavy criticism, particularly from Republicans, for his handling of the evacuation. But he said it was inevitable that the final departure from two decades of war, first negotiated with the Taliban for May 1 by former President Donald Trump, would have been difficult, with likely violence, no matter when it was planned and conducted.
“To those asking for a third decade of war in Afghanistan, I ask, ‘What is the vital national interest?’” Biden said. He added, “I simply do not believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan.”