President Joe Biden dismissed a comment about the Taliban being back in power on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, telling ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that it’s not the same as nearly 20 years ago.
Biden took questions – in an interview that aired Thursday – for the first time since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. The president bristled when Stephanopoulos asked him how he’d explain “to the American people” that the Taliban are now ruling the country just “like they were when our country was attacked” years ago.
“Not true. It’s not true,” Biden pushed back. “They’re not gonna look just like they were we were attacked. There was a guy named Osama bin Laden that was still alive and well. They were organized in a big way, that they had significant help from around – from other parts of the world.” (RELATED: Biden Remains Defiant In Afghanistan Withdrawal Process, Says There Was No Way Of Getting Out ‘Without Chaos Ensuing’)
Biden continued on to explain that America went to Afghanistan for two reasons: “To get Bin Laden” and “to wipe out as best we could … the Al Qaida” presence there. He said the U.S. accomplished those goals but never left.
“Then what happened? Began to morph into the notion that, instead of having a counterterrorism capability to have small forces there in – or in the region to be able to take on Al Qaida if it tried to reconstitute, we decided to engage in nation-building … That never made any sense to me,” Biden explained.
The president said he believes we should have left Afghanistan a long time ago and repeated his claim that “getting out would be messy no matter when it occurred.”
“I ask you, you want me to stay, you want us to stay and send your kids back to Afghanistan? How about it? Are you g — if you had a son or daughter, would you send them in Afghanistan now? Or later?” Biden wondered.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley reportedly told senators Sunday that officials will likely be altering previous assessments surrounding terrorist groups re-forming in Afghanistan. Officials now think terrorist groups can grow faster than originally anticipated, according to reports.