In a speech on Monday evening, President Joe Biden made a number of allegations about US policy in Afghanistan and the reasons for the decision to withdraw troops
BBC News confirmed some of the allegations by comparing previous statements about the situation in Afghanistan and the ground.
‘Our mission in Afghanistan was never to build a nation.’
President Biden stressed that the goal of the US intervention in Afghanistan is not “always to prevent a terrorist attack on the United States” and “never to create a single central democracy.”
This is in stark contrast to previous US positions on Afghanistan.
At the beginning of the conflict in 2001, when he was a US senator, Biden announced the long-term goal of US military intervention: “Our hope is to see a relatively stable government in Afghanistan. It is the foundation of the country’s future. Reconstruction.”
And again in 2003 – another quote that followed the Politico website – “The alternative to nation-building is the chaos created by bloodthirsty commanders, drug traffickers and terrorists.”
Biden’s speech on Afghanistan fact-checked:
I know why we did not start evacuating Afghan citizens sooner. Part of the answer is that some Afghans do not want to leave sooner, but still hope for their country. ‘
The rapid handover of power to the Taliban surprised many Afghans and did not give them enough time to make plans to leave the country.
However, there was a high demand for the US visa program for those at risk in Afghanistan, and the program faced delays.
About 18,000 applicants, affecting thousands of relatives, are left behind.
About half of the completed applications were submitted to the head of the US mission in Afghanistan, and the rest have not yet submitted all the correct documents.
The International Rescue Committee said that “the slowdown in the system means that it will take two to three years or more for an Afghan applicant to reach safety in the United States.” He said.
In his speech, Mr. Biden noted that 2,000 Afghans and their families, who are eligible for special immigrant visas, have so far moved to the United States more systematically.
In response to the crisis, Congress passed a bill to increase the number of visas to 8,000 and expand the refugee resettlement scheme.
‘Afghanistan’s political leaders have surrendered and left the country.’
President Ashraf Ghani promised to stay several times before the Taliban entered Kabul, but left the country with his aides.
An anti-Taliban coalition seems to be forming, including Vice President @AmrullahSaleh2 and Ahmad Massoud, son of Ahmad Shah Massoud – they are in Panjsher, about three hours drive from Kabul #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/EbuF1UXlNY
— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) August 16, 2021
However, other political leaders remained and made public statements.
Former President Hamid Karzai, who served from 2001 to 2014, appeared in a video in which he said he was in Kabul with his daughters, calling on government forces and the Taliban to protect civilians.
Karzai said all political leaders in the country would work for a peaceful solution and asked people to be patient.
Afghanistan’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, is currently in the country, along with other leaders, including Ahmad Masood, the son of anti-Soviet military leader and politician Ahmad Shah Massoud.
BBC News reports from Yalda that the ruling political leaders in Afghanistan have formed an anti-Taliban coalition.
‘The Afghan army collapsed for a while without even trying to fight.’
It is true that the collapse of Afghan forces in the last few weeks of the conflict has been dramatic.
However, this must be seen in the context of the rapid and largely uncoordinated withdrawal of international forces from the country.
When President Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops in April, 8,000 allied forces and 18,000 contractors who provided logistical support to Afghan forces left the country.
Afghan forces have relied heavily on these contractors and trainers for the past 20 years.
It should also be noted that the Afghan army is well-funded and equipped on paper, but the reality was different, often due to corruption and low morale.
Over the past 20 years, about 70,000 Afghan police and soldiers have been killed fighting the Taliban.
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