WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration is facing harsh backlash after the Afghan government crumbled as the Taliban swooped in to seize power while the U.S. continues its troop withdrawal.
President Joe Biden has not addressed the nation since the Taliban captured the Afghan capital of Kabul on Sunday, nearly 20 years after it was ousted. Images released online show Biden being briefed on what was happening.
Thousands of civilians are trying to flee the country. Video circulating on the internet shows hundreds on the tarmac at the Kabul airport, trying to get away. An additional 6,000 troops have been sent to secure the airport and facilitate evacuations. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has urged Americans and Afghans alike not to go there until notified.
The White House put out a joint statement with dozens of other countries calling on the Taliban to keep borders open. The U.S. military is still trying to evacuate thousands of people, including allies like interpreters who have faced death threats from the Taliban.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, called the Biden administration’s exit strategy an “unmitigated disaster of epic proportions.”
“This is going to be a stain on this president and his presidency, and I think he’s going to have blood on his hands,” McCaul said Sunday on CCN’s “State of the Union.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted that the dire situation in Afghanistan was the result of “a failure of leadership.”
“This looks like the fall of Saigon all over again,” he added.
“This is not Saigon,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken pushed back against that type of criticism, standing by the administration’s efforts.
“We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission and that mission was to deal with the folks who attacked us on 9/11. And we have succeeded in that mission,” Blinken said on “State of the Union.” “Remaining in Afghanistan another one, five, 10 years is not in the national interest.”
Blinken said the U.S. and allies will not recognize the Taliban government if it harbors terrorists and won’t uphold basic human rights.