Biden team surprised by rapid Taliban gains in Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden and other top U.S. officials have been stunned by the Taliban’s nearly complete takeover of Afghanistan as the planned withdrawal of American forces urgently became a mission to ensure a safe evacuation. The speed of the Afghan government’s collapse and the ensuing chaos posed the most serious test of Biden as commander in chief, and he has become the subject of withering criticism from Republicans who say that he had failed. Leading figures in the administration acknowledge they have been caught off guard with the utter speed of the collapse of Afghan security forces.

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