President Joe Biden and his national security advisers were initially defensive about both the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the effort to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies from the Kabul airport. In his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Biden suggested that Afghanistan would have descended into chaos regardless of how or when they proceeded. Commenting on the U.S. airlift last week, which was one of the largest in U.S. history, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told Fox News’ Peter Doocy that the administration would not call it “anything but a success.”
However, after last Thursday’s suicide bombings, which took the lives of 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan citizens, ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz asked her Sunday panel whether the White House can still stand behind such statements.
“Listening to President Biden and his top national security advisers, before the horrible bombing, they were making this sound like a smashing success,” Raddatz said. She also cited comments earlier on the program by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said a senior Taliban leader had gone on TV to assure the Afghan people they would be “free to travel.”
“I’m not saying we should trust the Taliban on anything,” Blinken told Raddatz. “I’m simply reporting what one of their senior leaders said to the Afghan people.”
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., blasted the interview as “disgusting.”
“They have been describing something that isn’t reality,” Karl said of the administration. “This has been an incredible airlift, more than 100,000 people evacuated, but what a disaster.”
“Clearly Thursday was the worst day of the Biden presidency,” he continued. “And we don’t really know, Martha, how bad it really is.”
Karl said the question now remains whether Afghanistan will again become a safe haven for terror attacks on U.S. interests around the world and at home.
CBS News came to the same conclusion last week, during a discussion between anchor Norah O’Donnell and chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes.
“It’s the worst day of the Biden presidency, Norah,” Cordes said, later adding, “It’s a very momentous time for this White House.”
The criticism of the White House has remained a constant throughout the crisis. In addition to media pundits, including some of the more liberal personalities, blasting the administration, lawmakers and other notable figures have demanded the resignations of administration officials and even Biden himself.
The U.S. military reported a successful strike on Sunday against a vehicle carrying at least one suicide bomber who intended to target Kabul‘s airport, preventing another devastating attack like the suicide bombing last Thursday, a U.S. official confirmed.
“U.S. military forces conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International Airport,” Capt. Bill Urban, spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said in a statement. “We are confident we successfully hit the target.”