Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has said that he expects other Americans to step up and shoulder the burden of supporting the troops in Afghanistan, amid concerns about the country’s security after the withdrawal of most of the international forces.

In an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, Vice President Joe Biden said that the Obama policy to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year “is the right decision for the United States and for Afghanistan.” He went on to say that Americans can’t afford to keep spending $8 billion a month on the war and that the Afghan government “can’t handle their own security.”

Vice-President Joe Biden is not a man to mince words. When it comes to the war in Afghanistan, he has made it clear that the buck will stop with him. Not only does Biden have a personal stake in the outcome, he has vowed to step down if President Obama seeks to withdraw troops before the 2014 deadline. But Biden’s outspokenness has its critics, and one of them is a former Canadian politician who has accused Biden of duplicity.

President Biden said he stands “firmly behind” his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan on Monday, but admitted that the country’s rapid collapse caught him off guard, telling the nation that “the buck stops with me” as chaotic efforts to evacuate US personnel and Afghan allies from Kabul continue. 

Addressing the nation for the first time since the Taliban took the capital on Sunday, the president did little to address pressing questions about why the U.S. failed to anticipate the rapid pace of the Taliban takeover or why the U.S. was not to prepared to evacuate Afghans who aided U.S. efforts over the years. He claimed many Afghans who assisted the U.S. were not evacuated sooner because they didn’t want to leave and because the Afghan government discouraged it. The president took no questions after his remarks, and returned to Camp David on Monday afternoon. 

Mr. Biden defended his timetable for removing US soldiers from the White House, saying, “I stand firmly by my decision.” “I’ve learned the hard way after 20 years that there was never a suitable moment to remove US troops.”

Mr. Biden started his comments by emphasizing that the goal in Afghanistan, which the US invaded in 2001 in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, was “never meant to be nation-building” and “never supposed to be establishing a united, centralized democracy.” He said that the main goal today is to prevent terrorist strikes on American soil. Mr. Biden told the nation that he “inherited” outgoing President Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Afghanistan by the end of May, and that his only options were to stick to the deal or intensify the war by deploying thousands more US soldiers to fight the Taliban.

US-AFGHANISTAN-CONFLICT-BIDEN On Tuesday, August 16, 2021, President Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on the situation in Afghanistan. AFP/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/Getty Images

“This did develop more rapidly than we had expected,” the president acknowledged. He said that Afghan authorities had given up and left the nation, and that the Afghan military had declined to resist the invading Taliban troops.

Mr. Biden said, “American soldiers cannot and should not be fighting and dying in a war that Afghan forces are unwilling to fight for themselves.” 

According to the president, Obama told the Taliban that any assault on withdrawing US troops would be countered “with deadly force if required.”

Mr. Biden did briefly address why the United States did not remove its friends – Afghans who assisted the United States, such as translators — sooner. “Some Afghans did not want to go early, still optimistic for their nation,” he said, adding that the Afghan government “discouraged us from arranging a large exodus to prevent creating, as they put it, a ‘crisis of trust.’” However, the backlog of thousands of Afghan applications for special immigration visas contradicts this. 

31:00 Special Report: Biden on Afghanistan

Despite placing blame on his predecessor and Afghan officials, Mr. Biden said he takes responsibility for the pullout, adding that he didn’t want a future president to be forced to make the same tough choice he made. 

Mr. Biden said, “I am the president of the United States, and the buck stops with me.” “I am profoundly disturbed by the realities we now confront, but I do not regret America’s choice to finish its war in Afghanistan and retain a laser-like focus on our counterterrorism mission there and elsewhere.” 

In Kabul, the situation remains grim and fluid. A U.S. military official told CBS News’ David Martin on Monday that U.S. troops had killed two armed Afghans who were part of the huge crowd that breached the airport perimeter, and reports said seven people have died in total. Sources tell CBS News about 100 embassy staff are still at the airport, operating what remains of the embassy.

This story was co-written by Weijia Jiang, Ed O’Keefe, and Christina Ruffini.

After the Obama administration dropped its demand to get at least 10,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden said in a speech at the American Legion that the U.S. commitment to the war would continue. “If people thought the president was withdrawing, they’d be worried about the country’s foreign policy,” Biden said. “No, he’s not pulling out. He’s going to continue it with more troops. We’re not going to leave Afghanistan on a blind date.”. Read more about pros and cons of withdrawing troops from afghanistan and let us know what you think.

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