Biden: More threats than Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

According to President Joe Biden, even though the Taliban are in power in Afghanistan he sees an increased threat from al-Qaida outposts in other countries and it is no longer rational to keep U.S. military power there.

Biden: More threats than Taliban-controlled Afghanistan

Biden stated that "we should be focusing upon where the greatest threat is," in an interview that aired Thursday on ABC's Good Morning America.

"The idea that we can spend a trillion dollars and still have thousands of American troops in Afghanistan when we have North Africa, Western Africa -- the idea that we can do this and ignore the looming, growing problems is not rational.

Biden repeatedly stated that America would not send more troops to Afghanistan. Biden was able to deploy 2,500-3,000 troops in Afghanistan when he took office, but not tens of thousand.

Biden identified Syria and East Africa, as places where Islamic State groups pose a "significantly more threat" than Afghanistan. He also stated that ISIS has "metastasized" to other parts of the world.

These comments are coming as the Biden administration is facing sharp criticism over the timing and direction for the Afghanistan withdrawal. The Taliban took power quicker than officials expected. Scenes of violence and chaos ensued as thousands of Afghans fled the country after the Taliban quickly seized power.

Biden also addressed concerns about the treatment women and girls in the United States, saying that it is "not rational" for the US to attempt to defend women's rights across the globe using military force. It should instead be done by "diplomatic pressure" on human rights violators to change their behavior.

After the Taliban took complete control of Afghanistan last weekend, up to 15,000 Americans are still in Afghanistan. Biden stated in the same interview that he is committed to keeping U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan until all Americans are evacuated. This could even mean that there will be a military presence after his deadline of Aug. 31 for withdrawal.

Biden repeatedly answered questions about how the administration would assist Americans who fled the country after August 31st.

Lloyd Austin, Defense Secretary, stated Wednesday that the U.S. military is unable to expand its current mission in Afghanistan from the security of Kabul Airport to the collection and transporting of Americans and at-risk Afghans to other parts in the capital.

Reports that some evacuees were stopped at Taliban checkpoints has raised the question of whether they should be saved and taken to the airport.

Austin stated, "I don’t have the ability to go out and expand operations currently into Kabul." And where would you go to do that? What distance can you go into Kabul and how long is it to get those forces there?

Austin, a former four-star Army General who commanded forces for Afghanistan, spoke at his first Pentagon News Conference since Sunday's victory of the Taliban in Kabul.

He stated that the State Department had sent more consular affairs officers in order to expedite the processing of evacuees.

Austin stated that "We are not near where we want" when it comes to the speed of airlift.

He stated that he was focused on the airport and its "a variety of threats" which he must monitor.

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