Joe Biden has said he takes responsibility for the bloody, often chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and said it should mark a new era in US foreign policy, relying less on military muscle.
Addressing the nation from the White House 24 hours after the last US soldier left Kabul, Biden sought to confront his critics about the handling of the withdrawal. He celebrated the evacuation of 124,000 civilians in the 17 days following the fall of the Afghan capital and said it was time to “turn the page” on the US role abroad, pointing to a less interventionist future.
“This decision about Afghanistan is not just about Afghanistan. It’s about ending an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” the president said.
Facing reporters in the state dining room, Biden looked into the camera and said he took responsibility for what he insisted was a “wise” decision. He admitted that his administration had not anticipated the speed of the Afghan army’s collapse, but also made clear there was plenty more blame to go around, singling out his predecessor and the former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.