President Biden maintains that no mistakes were made in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan — waving off the scenes of chaos, confusion and desperation in his first interview on the matter since the fall of Kabul.
“So you don’t think this could have been handled — this exit could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes?” ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked Biden.
“No,” Biden said. “I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look — but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens. I don’t know how that happened.”
“So for you, that was always priced into the decision?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Biden replied, but then amended his answer.
“Now exactly what happened, I’ve not priced in,” he said. “But I knew that they’re going to have an enormous — Look, one of the things we didn’t know is what the Taliban would do in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What they would do. What are they doing now? They’re cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, et cetera, but they’re having — we’re having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there.”
The commander in chief has previously insisted his administration didn’t anticipate how quickly the Taliban would sweep through the country.
The extremist group took the capital of Kabul on Sunday, prompting scores of residents to mass at the international airport in an attempt to flee.
Thousands of Afghans filmed frantically chasing after and clinging to a US Army plane as it taxied down a runway at the airport Monday, and harrowing footage showed two people plunging to their deaths as the aircraft took off.
But when Stephanopoulos tried to ask Biden about the horrific scenes, the president grew combative.
“We’ve all seen the pictures. We’ve seen those hundreds of people packed in a C-17. We’ve seen Afghans falling –“
“That was four days ago, five days ago!” Biden interjected, though the images were taken on Monday.