Joe Biden on Afghanistan: ‘They’ve Got to Fight for Themselves’

US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 8, 2021. - US President Joe Biden expressed confidence on July 8, 2021 in the Afghan military and said that a Taliban takeover of the country is not …
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President Joe Biden showed no signs of changing his plan to withdraw from Afghanistan on Tuesday, despite the Taliban taking control of multiple cities.

“They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation,” Biden said, taking a question from reporters on Afghanistan after making remarks at the White House on infrastructure.

The Taliban has taken over seven provincial capitals in just five days, controlling 65 percent of the country, as Axios noted Wednesday.

In July, Biden set August 31 as the date U.S. forces would withdraw from Afghanistan.

“Do I trust the Taliban? No,” Biden said at the time. “But I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped and more competent in terms of conducting war.”

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That optimism has changed. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Biden officials are preparing for Afghanistan’s capital to fall within 30-90 days.

Biden reminded critics of his withdrawal strategy that the United States had spent over a trillion dollars on the war and lost thousands of American troops.

“Afghan leaders have to come together,” he said, and added, “[T]hey’ve got to want to fight. They have outnumbered the Taliban.”

Biden indicated there was hope that Afghanistan’s new Secretary of Defense Bismillah Khan could bolster the fight, describing him as “a serious fighter.”

He said he would keep commitments made to the Afghans to provide air support and help their military with equipment.

“I think they’re beginning to realize they’ve got to come together politically at the top and — but we’re going to continue to keep our commitment,” he said. “But I do not regret my decision.”

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