During an interview with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos that aired on Wednesday, President Biden doubled down on his confidence in the success of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, where 15,000 Americans are still stranded.
“When you look at what’s happened over the last week, was it a failure of intelligence, planning, execution, or judgment?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Look, I don’t think it was fair, look, it was a simple choice, George,” Biden replied. “When the, when the Taliban, let me back up and put it another way. When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government gets in a plane and taking off and going to another country, when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off. That was, you know, I’m not, that’s what happened. That’s simply what happened.”
It should be noted that is not “simply what happened.” The Afghan army was able to fight back against the Taliban until Biden’s decision to withdraw included measures like the removal of private contractors who were servicing the Afghan military.
“The Afghan army fighting alongside American troops was molded to match the way the Americans operate,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The U.S. military, the world’s most advanced, relies heavily on combining ground operations with airpower, using aircraft to resupply outposts, strike targets, ferry the wounded, and collect reconnaissance and intelligence.”
“In the wake of President Biden’s withdrawal decision, the U.S. pulled its air support, intelligence and contractors servicing Afghanistan’s planes and helicopters. That meant the Afghan military simply couldn’t operate anymore,” the Wall Street Journal added.
Later in the interview, Stephanopoulos asked Biden, “So, you don’t think this could have been handled, this exit could have been handled better in any way? No mistakes?”
“No, I, I, 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,” Biden responded. “I don’t know how that happened.”
“So for you, that was always priced into the decision?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Yes,” Biden claimed.
Biden’s claim that “chaos ensuing” was “always priced into the decision” conflicts with his statements from before the withdrawal. During a press conference in July, Biden said that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
He later added, “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 an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”
A month after Biden claimed there would be “no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of a embassy,” there were people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.
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
Afghan Journalists Release Photos After Being Severely Beaten by Taliban for Covering Women’s Protest
Two Afghan journalists, photographer Nematullah Naqdi and reporter Taqi Daryabi were severely beaten by the Taliban for reporting on a women’s protest in Kabul. The two were battered after being beaten with batons, electric cables and whips. The beating occurred after being detained for several hours by Taliban fighters a day earlier.
The two men, who work for Afghan’s media outlet Etilaat Roz, released photos of their bruised bodies once back in their Kabul office, after being released from Taliban custody. Naqdi told Agence France-Presse “One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head…I thought they were going to kill me.”
Daryabi added “we were in so much pain that we couldn’t move.” Naqdi said he was told “you are lucky you weren’t beheaded” when asked why they were being beaten. When covering a protest on Wednesday outside a Kabul police station calling for an end to Taliban violations of women and girls, Naqdi said a Taliban fighter immediately tried to grab his camera when he began taking photos.
The Taliban were also rounding up anyone filming or taking photos of the demonstration, added Naqdi. The two say they were taken to a nearby police station where the beatings took place, only to be released after several hours.
The New York Post reports dozens of Afghan reporters have been beaten or accosted in recent weeks since the Taliban has recovered control of Afghanistan. The Taliban, however, claims that they will uphold press freedoms under their new regime. As has been proven time and time again, not much faith, if any, can be placed into anything the Taliban says or promises.
Raw Footage from Marine’s Helmet GoPro Shows ‘Two Straight Weeks of Worsening Conditions’ in Kabul
The Blaze got ahold of raw video taken from a Marine’s GoPro which shows the true chaos endured by those in Kabul as U.S. evacuations took place at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.
Marine Cpl. Mike Markland strung together the video clips from his helmet’s GoPro camera. The footage “captured the grittiness and desperation of the hurried evacuation” and reveals “two straight weeks of worsening conditions” on the ground, as seen from the viewpoint of the Marine from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.
The 7-minute video has been saved on a YouTube page and shows U.S. service members disabling American military equipment and vehicles. It also shows stacks of AK-47s, PK machine guns, M-16s, and other weapons likely abandoned by the Afghan military after the country collapsed. The end of the video pays tribute to the 13 U.S. service members who died in the suicide bombing in Kabul.
Markland originally posted the video to his Instagram account, but it has since been deleted. The Blaze reports Task & Purpose published the video, as well as Markland’s comments on social media before the video, had been removed.
“I hope this answers questions but also provokes you to ask more,” Markland captioned the since-deleted Instagram video. “To my brothers and sisters who were there I made this for you and your family. When you have the lack of ability to explain all that happened in those two weeks, show them this. Stand tall and wear the last two weeks on your chest.”
“I haven’t found a way to explain it with any words I know,” the Marine admitted.
“Many of us joined because we liked fighting and were good with adversity and conflict,” Markland reportedly wrote. “Two weeks in Kabul at HKIA put all of that to the test. I can’t say enough how proud I am of the Marines I serve with.”
“Odds were stacked against us. Circumstances undeniably out of our control, but we never let it deter our tenacious approach towards our mission at hand. Adversity and challenges happened 24/7,” Markland said.
The Marine noted that “almost all had no predesignated plan.”
“We did our absolute best and remained stoic through the sleepless nights and round-the-clock work with minimal food and water,” he continued. “Staying up for two or more days straight at a time grinding but remaining intensely vigilant.”
The Blaze writes of the footage, “Markland’s video paints a far more shambolic Kabul exit than the sanitized photos and videos provided by the Department of Defense.”
The Blaze continues and details the footage:
The Afghans are densely packed into small areas with barbed wire fences at the borders of the holding area outside the Kabul airport. Marines shoot crowd munitions to attempt to calm the frantic masses. When crowd munitions aren’t effective, Marines are seen firing off warning shots from their firearms in an attempt to control the large crowds.
Babies are seen being handed to the Marines for safety. Lacking medical equipment, wounded people are taken to get treatment on a ladder. Men and women are seen bursting into tears. In one clip, a man in civilian clothes bashes another person with the stock of his AK-47.
Despite the sheer inhumanity of the bedlam, there are moments of hopeful humanity as Marines give fist bumps to smiling Afghans.
Marines bond in a circle as the song “Halftime” by Nas blares in the background. They pass around the camera, make silly faces, throw a pineapple at each other, and enjoy friendly bicycle races.
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