The White House repeatedly defended withdrawing troops from Afghanistan as the Taliban rapidly gain ground in the war-torn country ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
President Joe Biden still believes the fall of the Afghan government is not “inevitable,” according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The administration does not “have the luxury of just feeling disappointed” by Afghan forces’ inability to deter the threat, despite the taxpayer money invested in their cause, Psaki told reporters Tuesday.
“The president’s view is that now is the time for them to utilize the training, the assistance, the security guidance that they have been provided over the last two decades, and they will continue to be provided, and unite as Afghan leaders, both the military and leaders who are leading the country, to push back against the Taliban,” she said.
Psaki added, “They need to show political will at this point to push back, and obviously, there’s a political process that we continue to support.”
She directed questions regarding whether new training models would be used next time the United States runs military capacity-building programs abroad to the Pentagon. But she reiterated that the U.S. would still provide $1 billion to the Afghan Air Force and Special Mission Wing for combat and operations, $1 billion for supplies, and $700 million for salaries.
“It is a fundamental value to continue to be partners and support their effort, but ultimately, it is up to the Afghans to determine what their future looks like,” she said.
Biden’s Afghanistan peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned the Taliban Tuesday the group would not be recognized internationally if it returns to power through force.
The Taliban have nearly completed their takeover of northern Afghanistan after the departure of much of the international coalition, capturing a series of strategic strongholds at a velocity that has surprised many observers.