Daily US Times: Top US officials, including President Joe Biden, were stunned by the pace of the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, as the planned withdrawal of American forces urgently became a mission to ensure a safe evacuation.
The speed of Taliban takeover and Afghan government’s collapse stunned many experts and posed the most serious test of Biden as US president, and he was the subject of widespread criticism from Republicans who said that he had failed.
President Biden campaigned as a seasoned expert in international relations and diplomacy and has spent months downplaying the prospect of an ascendant Taliban while arguing that Americans of all political sphere have tired of a 20-year war in Afghanistan.
Leading figures in the Biden administration acknowledged by Sunday that they were caught off guard with the utter speed of the collapse of Afghan security forces.
Referring to the Afghan military, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN: “We’ve seen that that force has been unable to defend the country, and that has happened more quickly than we anticipated.”
The turmoil in Afghanistan resets the focus in an unwelcome way for Joe Biden, who has largely focused on a domestic agenda that includes emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, protecting voting rights and winning congressional approval for trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending.
President Biden remained at Camp David on Sunday, receiving regular briefings about the rapid and dramatic situation in Afghanistan and holding secure video conference calls with members of his national security team, a senior White House official said.
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