“I bear responsibility for fundamentally all that’s happened,” Biden told Fox News reporter Peter Doocy following a press briefing. “You know as well as I do that the former president made a deal with the Taliban that he would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1.
“In return, he was given the commitment that the Taliban would continue to attack others, but would not attack any American forces. Remember that?” Biden asked.
The Fox News reporter did not answer the president’s question but instead asked whether he thinks Americans have a problem with how the withdrawal process has gone.
The president proceeded to bow his head and rested his face on his hands before saying, “I think they have an issue that people are likely to get hurt, some as we’ve seen have gotten killed, and that it is messy.”
Earlier this year, Biden extended the original departure deadline agreed to under the Trump administration from May 1 to Sept. 11, 2021. He then announced in July that the military mission in Afghanistan would conclude on Aug. 31.
Afghanistan collapsed just weeks after the majority of U.S. troops and NATO allies had withdrawn, and by Aug. 15 the Taliban took over the capital.
At least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan citizens were killed by two suspected suicide bombers who targeted the immense crowds forming in areas near the Kabul airport.
But despite the “messy” evacuation process that has been conducted, the president said he stood by his decision to continue with the complete withdrawal.
“Image where we’d be if I had indicated on May the first, I was not going to renegotiate an evacuation date?” he said to reporters. “I had only one alternative. Pour thousands of more troops back into Afghanistan to fight a war that we had already won – relative to the reason we went in the first place.”
“I have never been of the view that we should be sacrificing American lives to try to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan. A country that has never once in its entire history been a united country,” he added.
Biden argued that had Osama bin Laden not fled to Afghanistan and launched the al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on 9/11, the U.S. would never have gone into the nation.
“Our interest in going was to prevent al Qaeda from reemerging,” he said. “It was time to end a 20-year war.”