President Biden claimed that the withdrawal from Afghanistan could not have been handled differently, in comments to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos aired on Wednesday.
“You don’t think this could have been handled—this exit could have been handled better in any way, no mistakes?” Stephanopoulos asked the president.
“No, I don’t think it could have been handled in a way that, we’re gonna go back in hindsight and look—but the idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden responded.
EXCLUSIVE: Pressed on whether the U.S.'s exit from Afghanistan could have been handled better, Pres. Biden tells me, "The idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing—I don't know how that happens." https://t.co/j2MYMUJcdKpic.twitter.com/ua9T2q9wal
— GeorgeStephanopoulos (@GStephanopoulos) August 18, 2021
“So for you, that was always priced into the decision?” Stephanopoulos said.
“Yes,” Biden said before adding, “Now exactly what happened, I’ve not priced in.”
The chaotic evacuation of U.S. citizens from Afghanistan has left up to 15,000 Americans stranded in the country, with another several thousand U.S. troops at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Over the past week and a half, Taliban fighters have taken over almost all of Afghanistan, including Kabul.
On July 8, Biden told reporters at the White House that “the likelihood the Taliban is going to be overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
Joe Biden on July 8, 2021 — so, just over one month ago.pic.twitter.com/n9DhN6SKut
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 15, 2021
Biden also rejected comparisons to the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam during those remarks.
“The Taliban is not the South, the North Vietnamese Army. They’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability,” Biden said. “There’s going to be no circumstance [in which] you see people being lifted from the roof of the Embassy of the United States from Afghanistan.”
PHOTOS: The Fall of Afghanistan