President Biden says U.S. forces will stay in Kabul until all Americans are evacuated, even if it means extending the August 31st deadline when all U.S. troops are supposed to pull out. But now that the Taliban controls Kabul, U.S. military leaders aren’t sure all Americans can actually be rescued.
For now, chaos reigns outside Kabul’s airport as thousands of Afghans try desperately to escape the Taliban.
U.S. forces may control the airfield, but the Taliban controls all roads leading to the airport. Taliban terrorists have been blocking roads, beating Afghan women and children in broad daylight as they try to flee.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says Americans in Kabul will have to get to the airport on their own.
“We are going to do everything we can to continue to try to de-conflict and create passageways for them to get to the airfield. I don’t have the capability to go out and extend operations currently into Kabul,” he said.
Right now, roughly 15,000 Americans are trapped behind Taliban lines.
“We’re gonna get everyone that we can possibly evacuate evacuated, and I’ll do that as long as we possibly can until the clock runs out or we run out of capability,” Austin said.
Meanwhile, General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that even though there was a possibility that the Taliban would gain power after the U.S. pulled out, no one predicted the country would fall so quickly.
“There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days,” Milley said.
In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, President Biden said he wouldn’t handle the U.S. withdrawal any differently.
“The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden said.
Democrats gave the President their full backing when he announced plans for the unconditional withdrawal.
Now, some are changing their stance.
In a statement, the Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Sen. Bob Menendez said: “I am disappointed that the Biden administration clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid U.S. withdrawal.”
There have also been swift and blistering rebukes from Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the evacuation a “botched exit.”
“All of this is the aftermath of the decision, first to withdrawal, and then to withdrawal in a precipitous and incompetent way,” McConnell said.
Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott is taking it a step further, suggesting the president should be removed from office. He tweeted:
“After the disastrous events in Afghanistan, we must confront a serious question: Is Joe Biden capable of discharging the duties of his office or has time come to exercise the provisions of the 25th Amendment?”
After the disastrous events in Afghanistan, we must confront a serious question: Is Joe Biden capable of discharging the duties of his office or has time come to exercise the provisions of the 25th Amendment? https://t.co/l1bFrUdZH9
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 16, 2021