Jake Sullivan said ‘it's heartbreaking’ to see what was happening in Kabul but President Biden ‘stands by’ his decision to withdraw U.S. troops.
On Monday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said President Joe Biden did not consider it "inevitable" that the Taliban would control Kabul after the withdrawal of U.S. troops and blamed Afghan forces for not wanting to defend their country from the insurgents.
In an interview on ABC, he responded to the criticism the Biden administration is facing over the abrupt fall of Afghanistan under Taliban control and the scenes of panic in Kabul as thousands of people try to flee the country.
Sullivan accused Afghan forces of "not stepping up" to defend Afghanistan even though Washington had delivered "billions of dollars" in training and military equipment. Nevertheless, he said Biden believes the withdrawal of US troops is the right decision after over 20 years of war.
"The question the president faced in April... is whether we should send U.S. men and women into a civil war in another country when their own Army is not fighting to defend them. And the answer to that question is no," Sullivan said.
“This is manifestly NOT Saigon” - State Sec Blinken on Sunday— Luis (@luisffierro) August 16, 2021
PHOTO 1: Desperate Afghans storm planes at Kabul airport as they scramble to escape Taliban. Afghanistan (2021)
PHOTO 2: Civilians trying to get out of South Vietnam as the PAVN & Viet Cong advance. pic.twitter.com/8ZdssRJhG4
His statements come when social networks are broadcasting images of hundreds of desperate people trying to board planes taking off from Kabul airport. From what is known so far, six people died trying to do so.
“The President ultimately opted to bring US troops home and leave the Afghans to fight for themselves. Sullivan said ‘it's heartbreaking’ to see what was happening in Kabul but Biden ‘stands by’ his decision,” ABC reported.
On Sunday, the U.S. completed the transfer to Kabul airport of its entire embassy staff in Afghanistan, hours after launching an air evacuation from the building reminiscent of the one that took place during the fall of Saigon in 1975.
The State Department confirmed it had transported approximately 4,000 employees of the U.S. embassy in to the airport. The Pentagon allowed the dispatch of 1,000 more troops to Kabul, which means there will be approximately 6,000 U.S. military personnel at the airport in the Afghan capital.
In addition, U.S. forces have assumed control of air traffic control at the Kabul airport to facilitate evacuations of U.S. citizens and those of its allies.