Joe Biden refuses to take questions after Afghanistan statement
Former president Donald Trump has called the war in Afghanistan the “worst decision in history”.
In a televised interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Mr Trump blasted the George W Bush administration for the ongoing military engagement in Afghanistan.
He said: “Think of it, we took this horrible place, it was the worst decision to go into the Middle East, I know that Bush family will not be happy but I believe it was the worst decision in the history of our country when we decided to go into the Middle East”.
He added: “It’s turned out to be quicksand. We’ve destroyed the Middle East, you think it’s better now than it was 20-21 years ago, it’s much worse”.
The president will be interviewed by ABC lead anchor and former White House communications director, George Stephanopoulos.
We’ll be covering the interview live here.
John Bolton says Donald Trump ‘fully supported’ withdrawing from Afghanistan
Former national security adviser John Bolton has said that president Trump “fully supported” withdrawing from Afghanistan and would have done so if he had been re-elected president, despite criticizing president Biden for his decision.
Sppeaking on CNN, Mr Bolton said that there was no difference between Trump and Biden’s positions on the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, referring to the pair as “Tweedledum and Tweedledee”.
He added: “There are two strategic mistakes at work here. The first is the strategic mistake of withdrawing, which Biden made but which Trump fully supported. Had Trump been re-elected he’d be doing the same thing On this question of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Trump and Biden are like Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”
“The second question though is: Did the withdrawal occur in the best possible way? And the answer to that is no. It’s been a catastrophe and it’s only going to get worse.”
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 13:26
Update: Biden interview now scheduled for this evening
As an update to earlier posts, the president’s first media interview about the situation in Afghanistan is set to take place this evening, not between 12pm and 2pm GMT as previously reported (7am and 9am EST).
ABC lead anchor and former White House communications director will be sitting down for an exclusive interview with president Joe Biden later today.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 13:07
Bipartisan lawmakers urge Biden administration to postpone full troop withdrawal
A bipartisan group of 44 lawmakers has urged the Biden administration to postpose the full troop withdrawal until all Afghan allies can be safely evacuated.
In an open letter the lawmakers, led by Democratic congressman Tom Malinowski, urged Joe Biden to allow those with Special Immigrant Visas, as well as “vulnerable Afghans slated for evacuation” to remain at the Kabul Airport “for as long as necessary” so that they may safely leave the country.
The letter says: “We write with a critical request: that the United States must do everything possible to securely hold the airport in Kabul until the rescue mission is complete and our citizens, allies, and vulnerable Afghans have had an opportunity to leave.
“We trust that the previous August 31 deadline you imposed on our military mission will not apply to this effort, and that we will stay as long as is necessary to complete it.
“We recognize that this is an extremely difficult endeavour. But it would be unconscionable and devastating to our credibility to leave our allies behind, given the commitments we have made.”
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 12:48
Why did US leave Afghanistan and how much did America spend?
Ahead of president Biden’s first interview since the Taliban seized Kabul, Graig Graziosi explores the reasons behind the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and the costs of the decades-long war.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 12:28
Mike Pence: Joe Biden showed “weakness” towards the Taliban
Former vice-president Mike Pence has said that president Joe Biden showed “weakness” in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
“The Biden administration’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is a foreign-policy humiliation unlike anything our country has endured since the Iran hostage crisis,” he wrote.
“It has embarrassed America on the world stage, caused allies to doubt our dependability, and emboldened enemies to test our resolve.
“Worst of all, it has dishonoured the memory of the heroic Americans who helped bring terrorists to justice after 9/11, and all who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.”
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 12:09
George Stephanopoulos to interview Biden
As a reminder, George Stephanopoulos, chief anchor on ABC News and former White House communications director, will interview president Biden in the coming hours.
On Monday, Mr Stephanopoulos tweeted: “I’m sitting down with President Biden on Wednesday for an exclusive interview. What would you ask him?”
The interview is expected to air between 12pm and 2pm GMT.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 11:50
US officials are deleting online content that could identify Afghans who worked with the US-led coalition over the past two decades, as fears of Taliban violence grow in the country.
State department staff have been asked to locate and remove online records that could be used to identify Afghan civilians.
In a statement, Ned Price, a state department spokesperson, said: “The safety of our Afghan contacts is of utmost importance to us”.
“State department policy is to only remove content in exceptional situations like this one. In doing so, Department personnel are following records retention requirements.”
USAID and the department of agriculture are taking similar steps.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 11:32
Army chief of staff thanks soldiers for their service in Afghanistan
Army chief of staff General James McConville thanked soldiers for their service in Afghanistan, calling their sacrifices a “lasting legacy of honor and commitment for all to remember” in a letter shared on Twitter.
The letter was addressed to military personnel as well as family members, veterans and civilians.
Gen McConville wrote: “As we all reflect on the events of this past week in Afghanistan, I want you to know how much I appreciate your service and your sacrifice and I could not be more proud of what you have accomplished.
“In the next few weeks, I’d ask that you check in on your teammates as well as our Soldiers for Life, who may be struggling with the unfolding events.”
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 11:14
Afghan president Ghani’s daughter in New York complains of ‘vitriol’ directed at family over decision to flee
The daughter of former Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani has said that she has been “pretty burned out” and on the receiving end of “vitriol” after her father fled their home country as the Taliban seized Kabul over the weekend.
Mariam Ghani, a 42-year-old visual artist and filmmaker in New York City shared a list of resources on Instagram that individuals and activists can use to help Afghanistan’s citizens.
She also thanked those who reached out to her in solidarity in recent days. “It means a lot,” she said, “I’m pretty burned out but I hope I’ll be able to reply to you all individually at some point.”
She added: “lot of vitriol coming my way on social media rn [right now]”.
My colleague Anuj Pant has more on the story below.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 10:55
Biden’s approval ratings drop to the lowest level of his presidency
President Biden’s approval ratings have dropped to the lowest level of his presidency amid American displeasure at the withdrawal of troops and ensuing chaos in Afghanistan, following a 20-year military engagement.
On Monday, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 46 per cent of Americans approve of the job he is doing, representing a seven point drop from his 53 per cent approval rating on Friday.
A second Ipsos snap poll found that fewer than half of Americans liked the way the president has steered military and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan this year. Mr Biden was rated worse than Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W Bush, who presided over the war.
Celine Wadhera18 August 2021 10:37