World Clip of Biden Saying People Won't Be Lifted Off Embassy Roof in Afghanistan Resurfaces as Just That Happens
As world marks 9/11, Taliban flag raised over seat of power
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban raised their iconic white flag over the Afghan presidential palace Saturday, a spokesman said, as the U.S. and the world marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The banner, emblazoned with a Quranic verse, was hoisted by Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, the prime minister of the Taliban interim government, in a low-key ceremony, said Ahmadullah Muttaqi, multimedia branch chief of the Taliban’s cultural commission. © Provided by Associated Press A man walks down the stairs at dusk in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
As the U.S. races to evacuate diplomats via helicopters from its embassy in Kabul amid the Taliban's rapid advance, President's insistence during a July press conference that this would not happen has resurfaced on social media.
On July 8, Biden discussed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, swatting back concerns that a Taliban takeover of the country would be "inevitable." The president explicitly said that Americans would not see images reminiscent of the U.S. evacuation from Vietnam at the end of that war in 1975—when photos of helicopters evacuating people from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon were widely circulated in the media.
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"The Taliban is not the south—the North Vietnamese army. They're not—they're not remotely comparable in terms of capability. There's going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy in the—of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable," Biden insisted during a July 8 press conference.
PHOTO 1: US diplomat evacuate US from embassy via helicopter as the #Taliban enter #Kabul from all sides. #Afghanistan (2021)
PHOTO 2: US diplomat evacuate US from embassy via helicopter as the PAVN & Viet Cong capture of Saigon, Vietnam (1975) pic.twitter.com/YamWmzjOay— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) August 15, 2021
But on Sunday, images of helicopters evacuating diplomats from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Kabul began circulating online and in the media. Reuters, The Washington Post and other media outlets reported that the U.S. was using the aircraft to swiftly evacuate diplomats as Taliban insurgents converged on Afghanistan's capital.
Joe Biden's Speech on Afghanistan—7 Key Takeaways
The president said he stood by his decision to remove U.S. troops and that "nation building" was never the goal in Afghanistan.The Taliban seized control of Afghanistan two weeks before the U.S. was scheduled to fully withdraw its troops, who have been there since 2001.
Some onshared the video clip of Biden asserting that these images would not be seen by Americans. Others shared his quote and included side-by-side images of a helicopter evacuating the Kabul embassy on Sunday and one doing the same in Saigon in 1975.
Biden in July: “The Taliban is not the North Vietnamese army. They’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability. “There's going to be no circumstances where you’re going to see people being lifted off the roof of a US Embassy in Afghanistan.” pic.twitter.com/Dw7ghFs8Vz— IndSamachar News (@Indsamachar) August 15, 2021
House Republicans—who have largely slammed Biden over the withdrawal of U.S. forces despite the peace deal with the Taliban being signed under former President— on Twitter of the president's July 8 remarks on Afghanistan.
"This was just 38 days ago," the GOP lawmakers captioned the clip.
Biden’s defense falls flat with Afghans still wondering if they will make it out before US leaves
ON THE DEFENSIVE: Under fire from all sides for the chaotic U.S. evacuation effort following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul, President Joe Biden helicoptered back from his Camp David vacation to defend his decision to end the American military mission in Afghanistan, while offering scant explanation for why the rapidity of the collapse of Afghan forces caught him off guard. © Provided by Washington Examiner DOD header 2020 “We planned for every contingency, but I always promised the American people that I would be straight with you.
During that press conference, Biden also insisted that a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was not "inevitable." He pushed back against journalists questions that noted intelligence indicated that the U.S.-backed Afghan government would fall within a relatively short period of time.
"I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more—more competent in terms of conducting war," Biden said at the time.
Afghanistan has become the longest U.S. war. The U.S. invaded the country in 2001 after the terrorist attacks of September 11 of that year.
Trump's administrationwith the Taliban in February 2020. The former president had long argued that remaining in the country was "ridiculous," and did not benefit the U.S. or its interests. Under Trump's deal, by then-Secretary of State , the U.S. agreed to withdraw all its forces from Afghanistan by May 1 of this year.
Although Biden chose to move forward with that agreement after he took office, he pushed back the withdrawal deadline to September 11. The president then moved it forward to August 31—but the Afghan government has already collapsed as of Sunday.
What President Joe Biden said in his address on Afghanistan
As criticism of the president mounted, Biden addressed the country as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan and chaos overtook the Kabul airport.Below is a transcript of his speech.
Last week, Biden continued to defend the withdrawal, asserting that the U.S. had achieved its objective of subduing the extremist militant group Al Qaeda in Afghanistan years ago. Al Qaeda was allegedly responsible for planning and executing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
"I do not regret my decision," Biden said. "Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands—lost to death and injury—thousands of American personnel. They've got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation."
Although U.S. intelligence and military experts believed that Kabul could fall within a month to 90 days, the Biden administration was apparently caught off guard with how rapidly the Taliban regained control. Many are criticizing the Biden administration's withdrawal, but many are also defending the decision.
Benjamin H. Friedman, the policy director of Defense Priorities, said that the current outcome "was always likely to occur whenever U.S. forces left, whether 10 years ago or 10 years from now" in a statement emailed to Newsweek.
"Although the speed of this collapse is surprising to many, official lies about progress could never really hide that we were building a failed state, not fixing one. For the most part, Afghan forces didn't fight as U.S. forces left; they switched sides or simply left," Friedman said.
‘No possible life’ under Taliban rule: Afghan women fear murder, oppression after US withdrawal
"If the Taliban returns to power, I along with other women who work in the government will either be stoned to death or executed in public."These memories are invariably the stuff of nightmares.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
Defense secretaries in their own words: US 'invented reasons' to stay in Afghanistan .
The Taliban blitz exposes the failure of the 20-year Afghanistan war and portends terrorism threats, say former defense secretaries Panetta and Hagel.Afghan security forces, trained and equipped at the cost of $83 billion, wilted before Taliban fighters. With few exceptions, the Taliban rolled through provincial capitals without a fight despite a force of Afghan troops that was supposed to number more than 300,000. In reality, there were far fewer Afghan forces because of desertions and commanders who reportedly pocketed the pay of ghost soldiers they had kept on rolls. For those who remained and fought, there wasn't enough ammunition and food, to say nothing of pay.