>> the rush to leave kabul. civilians have been killed while clinging to aircraft. seven deaths have reported at the airport. with the taliban in control of afghanistan, fears. especially for women and girls. emmanuel macron speaks just pledge support for those women and girls who face a life of repression. macron -- an e.u. initiative to protect against the migrant flow peered at the french president praising the military and civil mission in afghanistan as a just
one. u.s. president joe biden is set to speak on the situation in afghanistan shortly. thank you very much for being with us. we are discussing the situation in afghanistan and awaiting a speech by joe biden any moment. the scenes we have seen coming out of kabul, especially at the airport in the past day have painted a grim picture of the situation. people struggling to get onto aircraft, clinging in some cases to the actual fuselage of the aircraft and matures for -- images from amateur photographers showing we believe people falling from those aircraft as they take off and leave the airport in kabul. a situation where several people have been killed. two people shot by american soldiers trying to secure the area. the u.s. has sent another 1000 troops to assist. the french embassy has been moved to the airport.
other western embassies setting up as well for safety but also to facilitate the repatriation of their people. not to citizens of their counies but afghan citizens helping to support and to facilitate the work carried out by the western diplomats and operatives within afghanistan. the taliban now in control of cabell. -- of kabul. what's shape it will take is to be debated. most people fear for the future, especially for women and girls who already are starting to come under the harsh regime of the taliban, which previously forbade them from working. would not allow girls to be educated beyond the age of 12 and was harsh in its punishment of people who did not abide by their rules. in many cases, people killed because of that. a situation which has got the western powers very much
concerned about what happens next. we are expecting joe biden to speak on the crisis shortly. this is joe biden speaking now. let's go to him life. president biden: our mission in afghanistan was never supposed to be nationbuilding. it was never supposed to be creating a unified centralized democracy. our only national interest in afghanistan remains today what it has always been, preventing a terrorist attack on american homeland. i have argued for many years our mission should be no really focused on counterterrorism, not counterinsurgency or nationbuilding. that is why i oppose the surge when it was proposed in 2009 when i was vice president. that is why i am adamant we focus on the threats we face today in 2021, not yesterday's threats. today, the terrorist threat has
metastasized well beyond afghanistan. al-shabaab in somalia. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. isis attempting to create a caliphate in syria and iraq and establish affiliates in multiple countries in africa and asia. these threats warrant our attention and our resources. we conduct effective counterterrorism missions against terrorist groups in multiple countries. where we don't have permanent military presence. if necessary, we will do the same in afghanistan. we developed counterterrorism over the horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on the direct threats to the united states in the region. and act quickly and decisively if needed. when i came into office, i inherited a deal that president trump negotiated with the taliban.
under his agreement, u.s. forces would be out of afghanistan by may 1 2021. just a little three months -- a little over three months after i took office. u.s. forces had already drawn down during the trump administration from roughly 15,500 american forces to 2500 troops in country. the taliban was at its strongest militarily since 2001. the choice i had to make as your president was either to follow through on that agreement or be prepared to go back to fighting the taliban in the middle of the spring fighting season. there would have been no cease-fire after may 1. there was no agreement protecting our forces after may 1. there was no status quo of stability without american casualties after may 1.
it was only a cold reality of either following through on the agreement to withdrawal our forces or escalating the conflict and sending thousands more american troops back into combat in afghanistan. lurching into the third decade of conflict. i stand squarely behind my decision. after 20 years, i have learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdrawal u.s. forces. that is why we are still there. we were clear right about the risk. we plan for every contingency. but i always promised the american people i would be straight with you. the truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated. so what has happened? afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.
the afghan military collapsed. sometime without trying to fight. if anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending u.s. military involvement in afghanistan now was the right decision. american troops cannot and should not be fighting in war and dying in war that afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves. we spent over a trillion dollars. we trained and equipped in afghan military force with some 300,000 strong. incredibly well clipped -- well-equipped. a forced larger and a size of the militaries of many of our nato allies. we gave them every tool they could need. we pay their salaries. provided for the maintenance of their force.
something the taliban does not have. the taliban does not have an air force. we provided close air support. we gave them every chance to determine their own future. we could not provide them with the will to fight for that future. some very brave and capable afghan soldiers. if afghanistan is able to mount any real resistance to the taliban now, there is no chance that one year, one more year, five more years or 20 more years of u.s. military boots on the ground would have made any difference. this is what i believe to my core. it is wrong to order american troops to step up when afghanistan's own armed forces would not. the political leaders of afghanistan were unable to come
together for the good of their people, unable to negotiate for the future of their country when the chips were down. they would never have done so while u.s. troops remained in afghanistan bearing the brunt of the fighting for them. our true strategic competitors, china and russia would have loved nothing more than the united states to continue to funnel billions of dollars in resources and attention into stabilizing afghanistan indefinitely. when i hosted president ghani and chairman of dell at the white house in june and again when i spoke by phone in july, we had frank conversations. we talked about how afghanistan should prepare to fight their civil wars after the u.s. military departed. to clean up the corruption in government so the government could function for the afghan people.
we talked extensively about the need for afghan leaders to unite politically. they failed to do any of this. i also urged them to engage in diplomacy, to seek a political settlement with the taliban. this advice was fight lee refused -- was flatly refused. mr. goni insisted the afghan forces would fight. obviously he was wrong. so i am left again to ask of those who argue we should stay, how many more generations of america's daughters and sons would you have me send to fight afghanistan civil war? when afghan troops will not. how many more lives, american lives, is it worth? how many endless rows of headstones at arlington national cemetery? i am clear in my answer.
i will not repeat the mistakes we have made in the past. the mistake of staying and fighting indefinitely in a conflict that is not in the national interest of the united states, of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country. of attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of u.s. forces. those are the mistakes we cannot continue to repeat. we have significant vital interest in the world and we cannot afford to ignore. i also want to a knowledge helping full this to so many of us. the scenes we are seeing in afghanistan, their gut wrenching. -- they are gut wrenching. particularly for veterans, diplomats, humanitarian workers. for anyone who has spent time on the ground to support the afghan people. for those who have lost loved ones in afghanistan and for americans who have fought and
served in the country to serve our country in afghanistan. this is deeply, deeply personal. it is for me as well. i have worked on these issues as long as anyone. i have been throughout afghanistan during this war while the war was going on from kabul to kandahar. i have traveled there on four different occasions. i met with the people. i have spoken to the leaders. i spent time with our troops. i came to understand firsthand what was and was not possible in afghanistan. so now we are focused on what is possible. we will continue to support the afghan people. we will lead with our diplomacy, our international influence and our humanitarian aid appeared we will continue to push for regional diplomacy and engagement to prevent violence and instability. we will continue to speak out
for the basic rights of the afghan people, of women and girls. just as we speak out all over the world. i have been clear. the human rights must be the center of our foreign policy, not the periphery. but the way to do it is not through endless military deployments. it is with our diplomacy, our economic tools and rallying the world to join us. let me lay out the current mission in afghanistan. . i was asked to authorize and i did 6000 u.s. troops to deploy to afghanistan for the purpose of assisting in the departure of u.s. and allied personnel from afghanistan and to evacuate our afghan allies and vulnerable afghans to safety outside afghanistan. our troops are working to secure the airfield and ensure
continued operation of both the civilian and military flights. we are taking over air traffic control. we have safely shut down our embassy and transferred our dip diplomats. our diplomatic presence is consolidated at the airport as well. over the coming days, we intend to transport thousands of american citizens who have been living and working in afghanistan. we also to continue to support the safe departure of civilian personnel, civilian personnel of our allies who are still serving in afghanistan. operation allies refugee, which i announced in july has already moved 2000 afghans who are eligible for special immigration visas and their families to the united states. in the coming days, u.s. military will provide assistance
to move more eligible afghans and their families out of afghanistan. we are also expanding refugee access to cover older -- to cover other afghans who worked for other embassies, u.s. nongovernmental organizations and afghans who otherwise are at great risk. i know there are concerns about why we did not evacuating afghans, civilian sooner. part of the answer is some of the afghans did not want to leave. still hopeful for their country. and partly because the afghan government discouraged us from organizing a mass exit is to avoid triggering a crisis of confidence. american troops are performing this mission as professionally and effectively as they always do. it is not without risk.
as we carry out this departure, we have made it clear to the taliban, if they attack our personnel or disrupt our operation, the u.s. presence will be swift and the response will be swift and forceful. we will defend our people with devastating force if ■necessary. our current military mission will be short in time, limited in scope and focused in its objectives. get our people and our allies to safety as quickly as possible. once we have completed this mission, we will conclude our military withdrawal. we will end america's longest war after 20 long years of bloodshed. the events we are seeing now are sadly proof that no amount of
military force whatever deliver a stable united secure afghanistan as known in history of the graveyard of empires. what is happening now could just as easily happen five years ago or 15 years in the future. you have to be honest. our mission in afghanistan has taken many missteps over the past two decades. i am now the fourth american president to preside over the war in afghanistan. two democrats and two republicans. i will not pass this responsibility onto a fifth president. i will not mislead the american people by claiming just a little more time in afghanistan will make all the difference. nor will i shrink from my share of responsibility from where we are today and how we must move forward from here. i am president of the united states of america and the buck
stops with me. i am deeply saddened by the facts we now face. but i do not regret my decision to end america's war fighting in afghanistan and maintain a laser focus on our counterterrorism mission they are and other parts of the world. our mission to degrade the terrorist threat in afghanistan and kill osama bin laden was a success. our decades long effort to overcome centuries of history and permanently change and remake afghanistan was not. i wrote and believed it never could be. i cannot and will not ask our troops to fight on endlessly in another country's civil war, taking casualties, suffering life shattering images -- life shattering injuries, leaving families broken by grief and loss. this is not in our national security interest.
it is not what the american people want. it is not whatever troops who have sacrificed so much over the past two decades deserve. i made a commitment to the american people when iran for president that -- when i ran for president that i would bring america's involvement in afghanistan to an end. while it has been hard and messy and far from perfect, i have honored that commitment. more importantly, i made a commitment to the brave men and women who served this nation that i was now going to ask them to continue to risk their lives in a military action that should have ended long ago. our leaders did that in vietnam when i did that as a -- when i got here as a young man. i will not do it in afghanistan. i know my decision will be criticized. i would rather take all that criticism and pass the decision
-- then pass the decision to another president of the united states because it is the right one, it is the right decision for our people. the right one for our brave servicemembers members who risk their lives serving our nation. it is the right one for america. thank you. may god protect our troops, our diplomats and all brave americans serving in harm's way. >> joe biden taking no questions. his speech on the fall of kabul and taliban taking control of afghanistan. he says the buck stops with him. he is standing by his decision to bring back the u.s. troops. the evacuation all going. no -- the situation we know is very much unstable. people swarming to try to get on
what aircraft they possibly can. let's bring in our correspondent in washington who is watching the speech by joe biden and joining us now with the analysis. your reaction. joe biden sticking by his decision. >> most of the speech has been defense of the decision to withdraw the u.s. troops and he repeated things he has said in the past, whi is that u.s. troops have been sent in 2001 for specific goals and those goals have beemet and it was ti to bring em back. the other thing he insisted on was this deal to withdraw troops was negotiated by his predecessor, donald trump, and that while he didgree with their withdrawal, the timing of the withdrawal was something he had no control over. that was negotiated by the previous president and if he had
moved on from that timeline, there would have been more violence in afghanistan. what was new from joe biden was a scathing criticism of both the afghan government and the afghan forces. what joe biden said, yes, this unfolded much faster than he or his team expected. he did say the u.s. troops should not be fighting in a war that afghan forces were not willing to fight. he also criticized the afghan government for giving up and fleeing the country. the afghan forces for not having the will to fight. for not standing up for their country. he added that we gave them every tool they would need. we could not provide them with the will to fight for their future. it kind of seems like the president was putting most of the blame on the afghan
governnt and the afghan forces themselves for the speed at which the taliban's reach of control of the whole of afghanistan including kabul. he insisted that the buck stops with him. he stood by his decision. there was no reason to believe by staying longer, things would have changed. he reminded americans the goal when they went into afghanistan was to avenge the 9/11 attacks. not nationbuilding and that is why there is no reason to keep those troops in the u.s. >> mentioning of course he was not going to change the regime, which some people might be listening to with a raised eyebrow beuse i think it was clear when this started in 2001 that was the aim. to go in and make those changes. >> yes, this is a way for the u.s. president to try to frame
the conversation as if the time the americans when in in 2001, that the goal was a specific goal to really target al qaeda, to avenge the 9/11 killings and there was no further, bigger goal of nationbuilding. that the goal was to deteriorate the terrorist base and prevent future attacks. in that sense, he is right. the americans managed to achieve those goals. he sort of pushes aside the overarching goal back then, which was to try to get as stable -- did a stable afghanistan to prevent it from becoming a safe haven for terrorists in the future. this is an attempt by joe biden and it is not new. he has done it multiple times since he took office, which is to frame the 20 years as a sort of very specific and targeted
attempt and targeted mission that has been accomplished to avoid talking about the overarching goal that has probably not been met. >> you are required on our french channel. we appreciate your analysis of the situation. i understand you're coming to join us after your finished. thank you for now. let's bring in our international editor who is equally as talented and multilingual. here in the studio. it is great to have your pit what was new from biden was this indictment of not just the afghan president and his number two but the entire structure including the military they spent billions training 300,000 for. >> he was very critical of the afghan leadership. i think they were a bit of a scapegoat. he is saying it is the reason we
have to come out, because we have been helping the afghan government. what we could not do even though we gave them a trillion dollars, we gave them air support, we gave them salaries, we could not give them the will to fight. that is one of the reasons we now have done everything we can and why we are having to come out of afghanistan. he said the leadership of afghanistan was unable to fight for itself. one year, five years, 20 years, it would be the same thing. we could have come out five years ago. we would have been in the same situation. one of the first things he said, which is the key fact here is that joe biden said he was against the troop surge of barack obama in 2009. he was always in favor of a pullout. the reason for that he said is the u.s. is not there to launch a counterinsurgency. the u.s. is there for
counterterrorism. he says the reason we are not able to fight counterterrorism in other countries around the world is because we are bogged down in this war with afghanistan with no way out. the longer we stay, the harder it is going to be to come out. there is never going to be a good time to come out of it. we should stop saying a few more years and everything will be fine. we will never be able to leave. he said i am not going to leave this for a fifth u.s. president to have to deal with after george w. bush, barack obama, donald trump and now joe biden. he said i am the last president who is going to have to deal with this. the buck stops here. he is not going to leave this for a fifth president. he is going to be criticized for this move. he said i have made a decision and i am going to honor that decision. >> is it likely for him to be criticized internationally?
>> in the u.s.tself, hhas for the moment at least got pretty high support amongst the u.s. population for this pullout. there are two things. there is fatigue over this afghan war. this never ending war that has been dragging on for 20 years. coupled with that, you have this incomprehension about why the u.s. is in this country anyway. why the u.s. has become the world's policeman to go to these countries where most americans do not know anything about afghanistan, where it is and why u.s. troops are there. they have one idea in their mind and that is that these troops should come out. joe biden will maybe boost his support based within the unit states as a result. amongst republican maybe as much as he would among his own democratic supporters. on the international front, there may be more criticism.
after listening to what joe biden said tonight, a lot of countries may also be thinking maybe we should be looking at this situation over why we should be fighting someone else's civil war when the day we decide to pull out, they all run for governor -- run for cover. they should be able to fight the war and we should not be doing it for them. >> the situation in afghanistan is chaotic and the scenes at the airport in kabul really tell the story as it is unfolding. it is worth remembering some 90 french military lives were lost. 435 or more british military lives. within two and a half thousand americans lost -- more than two and half thousand americans lost their lives. joe biden talks about the frustration and anger people are feeling at this outcome. it is all there to describe. >> he was categorical about the fact that what he did not want was for more sadness and more
bereavement to come to american fa 08/16/21 08/16/21 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from new rk, this is democracy now! >> we congratulate the victory, especially to the people of kabul. he reached the position which we never expected. amy: the taliban has seized control of afghanistan, taking over the presidential paulos and a couple after despicable after the president