President Biden grilled on USA's withdrawal from Afghanistan
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Kabul’s airport witnessed shocking scenes earlier this week as thousands of Afghans tried to board US military jets evacuating people following the Taliban’s rapid takeover. Desperate Afghans fell to their deaths after clinging to the fuselage after the planes took off.
The chaos focused attention on Mr Biden’s decision to withdraw all US forces by August 31, with the 78-year-old sticking by his decision when pressed by reporters.
Mr Biden was the subject of fierce criticism by Richard Madeley in an op-ed published in today’s Daily Express headlined: “Biden’s betrayal is breathtaking.”
The journalist and television presenter wrote: “I’ll tell you who’s been betrayed here. Us. By the US, and specifically by Biden.”
Mr Madeley explained: “Britain stood shoulder-to-shoulder with America in Afghanistan for 20 years, at the cost of much blood and treasure.
“We were given no say whatsoever in the timing of the US withdrawal. We weren’t even asked our opinion.”
He added: “It was a classic fait accompli and a humiliating reminder of what the so-called ‘special relationship’ really entails: America first.
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“Of course any president, or prime minister for that matter, must put their country first. But allies are there to be consulted and, dare I say it, advise.
“Treat them with contempt and watch the alliance crumble.”
Of course, the decision to pull troops out did not originate with Mr Biden, who may therefore argue it is unfair for him to carry the can.
Predecessor Donald Trump, a long-term critic of US involvement in overseas wars, struck a deal with the Taliban last year which committed the US and its allies from Afghanistan by May 2021.
Therefore Mr Biden actually pushed back the deadline by four months.
However, whereas he agreed to abide by its terms after being inaugurated earlier this year, critics have pointed out he was under no obligation to honour it at all.
Speaking yesterday, Mr Biden said: “I have seen no question of our credibility from our allies.
“As a matter of fact, the exact opposite I’ve got -. we’re acting with dispatch, we’re acting, committing to what we said we would do.”
He also emphasised the expectation that the US-funded and -armed Afghan military had been expected to put up more of a fight against the Taliban.
He said: “The overwhelming consensus was that the Afghan forces, they were not going to leave.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also faced fierce criticism for his decision to flee the country.
He is currently living in the United Arab Emirates, and has denounced as “lies” claims that he took £123million in cash with him.
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