Aug 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to address nation at 3:45pm after Taliban seize power in Afghanistan

President Biden speaking from the White House on Aug. 12.

President Biden speaking from the White House on Aug. 12. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

President Biden will return to the White House from Camp David and deliver an address on the crisis in Afghanistan at 3:45pm ET on Monday, following the collapse of the Afghan government and the Taliban's declaration of victory.

Why it matters: Biden has faced intense criticism for his silence as the Taliban captured Kabul and chaos erupted at the city's international airport, where the U.S. is attempting to evacuate thousands of Afghans who assisted the military during the 20-year war.

  • Top officials in the administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, have appeared on television to defend the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • But Biden himself has been called upon to address the country and the world on the chaos in Afghanistan after promising a "safe and orderly" exit.

Biden had previously dismissed comparisons to the withdrawal from Vietnam and disputed warnings from the U.S. intelligence community regarding the Afghan government's vulnerabilities, calling them "wrong."

  • Sullivan said Monday that Biden did not believe it was "inevitable" that the Taliban would take control of Afghanistan, citing the 20 years and billions of dollars that the U.S. has spent training the Afghan security forces.
  • Sullivan blamed the security forces for deciding "not to step up and fight for their country," but said Biden stands by his decision to withdraw.

The big picture: The Taliban's seizure of Kabul forced President Ashraf Ghani to flee the country and prompted the evacuation of the U.S. Embassy.

  • It also ignited chaos at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, where thousands of civilians stormed the runway on Monday in an attempt to flee Afghanistan.
  • Afghans who aided U.S. and coalition forces have yet to be evacuated from the country, and the Biden administration is still attempting to find countries to temporarily house those who risk retaliation from the Taliban if they stay in the country.

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