THE United States, on Tuesday, resumed air operations in Afghanistan and flew hundreds of people in and out of Kabul’s airport, the Pentagon said.
The U. S. will evacuate as many U.S. citizens and Afghan interpreters as possible in coming weeks, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday, urging that Americans could again make their way to the Kabul airport.
“We remain committed to completing this drawdown in a safe and orderly way, and to doing what we can to getting as many of our American citizens out as well as many of those interpreters and translators who assisted U.S. forces,” Kirby said.
More than 700 people, including over 150 U.S. citizens, were evacuated in the past 24 hours, Kirby said on ABC News’ ‘Good Morning America.’
Two U.S. military bases – Fort Bliss and Camp McCoy – will be housing up to 22,000 Afghan allies in the coming weeks.
President Joe Biden has been criticised for the way U. S. troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan amid the collapse of civilian government in the country. Taliban forces have since Sunday taken control of Kabul.
Many Afghans face their future in a Taliban regime with fear. The biggest fear revolves around the future of girl education and women’s rights in Afghanistan, but the Taliban has said girls can continue to attend schools.
Biden admitted that the Taliban takeover came sooner than expected, but defended his decision to withdraw U. S. forces, saying there was never going to be a good time.
“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said in a speech delivered from the East Room of the White House on Monday.
“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated. I know my decision will be criticised, but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to a future president,” Biden noted.
The U. S. President said American troops would not and could not be fighting and dying in a war that Afghan forces were not willing to fight for themselves.
“We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future,” Biden added.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy R-Calif has said Biden’s decision to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is a ‘mistake’ and called for an investigation into his administration’s handling of the crisis in Afghanistan.
McCarthy said it was wrong for Biden to have set September 11 as a target date for troops to be out of the region, and added the president erred by removing troops during the summer when the Taliban was at their height.
The minority leader said investigations should look into what the U.S. and allied intelligence community knew in the weeks and months leading up to the fall of the Afghan government, The Hill reported.
In the same vein, US Senator for Florida Marco Rubio said: “I vividly recall a few months ago when a bipartisan group on Senate Intel told the administration the worst case scenario was the likeliest one in the Afghanistan withdrawal. We asked them what their plan was to prevent that from happening. They dismissed our warnings.”
The Taliban made their way into the capital city of Kabul on Sunday and seized control. Many people, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, have fled the country.
The Pentagon has warned of worsening terrorist threat as Taliban seize Afghanistan.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told lawmakers that there was a need to ‘reassess’ the potential for terrorist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State reconstituting inside Afghanistan in light of the Taliban’s takeover, Kirby disclosed on Monday.