President Joe Biden returned to the White House two days ahead of schedule to address the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Monday.
Biden’s administration has faced criticism for appearing to be asleep at the wheel as the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government in a matter of days. Biden spent the past several days in Delaware and Camp David, while White House press secretary Jen Psaki is also on vacation. (RELATED: Taliban Fighters Enter Kabul After Afghan President Flees)
BREAKING: President Joe Biden to return to the White House and deliver remarks on the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan a day after the Taliban took control of the country. Biden has been at the Camp David presidential retreat since Friday. https://t.co/c7d8hTTu3w
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 16, 2021
Biden will give an address on the situation in Afghanistan at 3:45 p.m. (ET), the White House announced Monday. He will take questions only from pre-credentialed media.
Footage from the Afghan capital of Kabul has shown desperate residents flocking to the airport to flee with American forces. Throngs of people crowded the runways and even clung to U.S. Air Force transport planes as they took off. At least one person was reportedly killed after strapping themselves to the outside of the plane and plummeting hundreds of feet to their death during takeoff.
— Mukhtar wafayee (@Mukhtarwafayee) August 16, 2021
The U.S. has deployed roughly 6,000 troops to defend the Kabul airport as it evacuates American citizens and thousands of Afghans who assisted the U.S. military during its deployment.
U.S. soldiers have shot and killed at least two armed militants who approached the airport, and U.S. Central Command has urged the Taliban not to interfere with the evacuation.
U.S. troops shot and killed two armed men who approached the US forces at Kabul’s international airport, according to a U.S. official — WSJ
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) August 16, 2021
Many are comparing the withdrawal to the U.S. departure from Saigon, Vietnam, in 1975. Biden vowed earlier in August that Americans would not see Saigon-esque images of U.S. aircraft evacuating amid chaos.