President Joe Biden will deliver an address to the nation for the second time this week on Friday. As the situation on the ground in Afghanistan changes rapidly, Mr Biden cancelled his trip to Delaware, where he was supposed to spend the weekend.
Mr Biden was scheduled to speak on the situation in Afghanistan at 1pm EDT on Friday, but he was running more than 30 minutes late. Harrowing images of desperate Afghan civilians clinging to US military planes on the tarmac of Hamid Karzai Airport in Kabul shocked the world and became a source of criticism for the Biden administration over the chaotic withdrawal.
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Mr Biden addressed the nation on Afghanistan on Monday. In that speech, the president said “I stand squarely behind my decision” to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan after a protracted 20-year conflict that has killed thousands of US soldiers and scores more Afghanistan troops and civilians.
Mr Biden’s administration appeared to have been caught off guard by the rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. The president was at Camp David over the weekend that Kabul fell, and his press secretary, Jen Psaki, had an out-of-office message on her email until the beginning of the week. Even the United States’ top military official, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, said that no intelligence indicated Afghanistan would fall in just 11 short days.