President Joe Biden will thank military commanders and military personnel in his speech on Tuesday for their work in the perilous evacuation from Afghanistan.
In his comments, the first since the United States withdrew from the country, Biden will explain his decision to end the US presence there and pay tribute to US veterans of the conflict.
Biden’s speech, originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m., was moved to 2:45 p.m.
“In his remarks this afternoon, the president will express his gratitude to the commanders and military personnel who carried out a dangerous mission in Kabul and rescued more than 124,000 people; he will also thank the veterans and volunteers who have supported this effort,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
He will outline his decision to end the war in Afghanistan after 20 years, including the difficult decisions he has made in the past seven months since taking office to end the war. He will make it clear that as president he will approach our foreign policy through the prism of what is in our national interest, including how best to continue to protect the American people,” she added.
Biden addressed the US withdrawal in a 500-word statement Monday after the Pentagon formally announced the US had left Afghanistan after nearly 20 years in the country.
President Joe Biden will thank military commanders and servicemen in his speech for first remarks since the US withdrew from Afghanistan
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would explain his decision to withdraw the United States from Afghanistan
In his statement, he thanked the American troops and their commanders.
“Our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has come to an end. Tomorrow afternoon I will address the American people about my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond 8/31,” he said.
Biden said the decision was the “unanimous recommendation” of the Joint Chiefs and commanders on the ground.
“For now, I urge all Americans to join me in prayerful prayer tonight for three things. First, to our troops and diplomats who carried out this mission of mercy in Kabul and at enormous risk with such unparalleled results: an airlift that has evacuated tens of thousands more people than was ever possible. Second, to the network of volunteers and veterans who helped identify those who needed to be evacuated, escorted them to the airport and provided support along the way. And third, to all who now—and who will—welcome our Afghan allies to their new homes around the world and in the United States.”
He ended his statement with a “moment of gratitude” for the 13 military personnel in Afghanistan who were killed in the suicide bombing at Kabul airport last week.
The president’s approval rating has taken a nosedive in the wake of Afghanistan’s evacuation and withdrawal. According to an ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday, only 38% of Americans approved of his approach to the situation.
The situation has also damaged Biden’s campaign argument that he should be elected for his ability and experience. Some Democrats, many Republicans and foreign allies had pleaded with him to extend the August 31 deadline, but the administration claimed it wouldn’t make a significant difference on the ground.
Biden kept the deadline but paid a heavy price: 13 US servicemen died in a suicide bombing at Kabul airport last week, along with more than 100 Afghan allies trying to flee the country.
On Monday, the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, ending a 20-year occupation that cost more than $2 trillion and killed more than 170,000, including 2,356 U.S. military dead.
The Pentagon’s announcement came after Biden’s last scheduled public appearance on Monday and after the clock in Kabul clicked past midnight, making it August 31 there.
Afghanistan is now completely under the control of the Taliban.
“This victory belongs to all of us,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said from the tarmac of Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the last US plane departed.
Afghanistan is now completely under Taliban control – above Taliban soldiers in Kabul
Taliban take control of Hamid Karzai International Airport after completion of US withdrawal
Harmid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after the Taliban takeover
Afghan Refugees Arrive at Virginia’s Dulles International Airport
Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Monday evening that there are between 100 and 200 Americans in Afghanistan who want to leave.
“We think there are still a small number of Americans, under 200 and probably closer to 100, who remain in Afghanistan and want to leave,” he said.
The Pentagon said Monday that more than 122,000 people, including 5,400 Americans, have been evacuated since July.
There are no more US diplomats in Afghanistan and the State Department has moved its diplomatic mission in the country to Doha, Qatar.
The United States ended its presence in Afghanistan on Monday, marking the end of nearly 20 years in the country.
The last C-17, callsign MOOSE 88, took off from Hamid Karzai International Airport at 3:29 PM east coast time, after the clock in Kabul clicked past midnight, making it August 31 there.
Biden Statement on Withdrawal of US Troops from Afghanistan
President Joe Biden will not address the nation about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan until Tuesday, but he did release a statement Monday.
The Pentagon announced Monday that the last US troops had left Kabul airport nearly 24 hours earlier than planned, ending the US war in Afghanistan after 20 years and the death of nearly 2,500 troops.
I want to thank our commanders and the men and women who served under them for their execution of the dangerous retrograde from Afghanistan as planned – in the early morning hours of August 31, Kabul time – without further loss of American lives. Over the past 17 days, our forces have carried out the largest airlift in US history, evacuating more than 120,000 US civilians, citizens of our allies and Afghan allies of the United States. They have done it with unparalleled courage, professionalism and determination. Now our 20-year military presence in Afghanistan has ended.
Tomorrow afternoon I will address the American people about my decision not to extend our presence in Afghanistan beyond 8/31. For now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and all our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned. Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops and safeguard the prospects of civilian departure for those looking to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months to come.
I have asked the Secretary of State to lead ongoing coordination with our international partners to ensure safe passage for all Americans, Afghan partners and foreigners seeking to leave Afghanistan. This includes work to build on the UN Security Council resolution passed this afternoon that sent a clear message of what the international community expects the Taliban to deliver to make progress, especially freedom of travel. The Taliban have made pledges of safe passage and the world will hold them to their obligations. It will include ongoing diplomacy in Afghanistan and coordination with partners in the region to reopen the airport so that those who want to leave can leave permanently and provide humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan.
For now, I urge all Americans to join me in prayerful prayer tonight for three things. First, to our troops and diplomats who carried out this mission of mercy in Kabul and at enormous risk with such unparalleled results: an airlift that has evacuated tens of thousands more people than was ever possible. Second, to the network of volunteers and veterans who helped identify those who needed to be evacuated, escorted them to the airport and provided support along the way. And third, to all who now—and who will—welcome our Afghan allies to their new homes around the world and in the United States.
Finally, I would like to end with a moment of gratitude for the sacrifice of the 13 military personnel in Afghanistan who gave their lives last week to save tens of thousands: Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Sgt. Johanny Rosariopichardo, Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Marine Corps Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Marine Corps Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Marine Corps Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Naval Hospitaller Maxton W. Soviak, and Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss