President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE will speak to the nation on Tuesday about the end of the war in Afghanistan, which concluded Monday after 20 years when the final U.S. military planes left the country.
Biden, in a statement a short time after the Pentagon confirmed the end of the war, thanked the U.S. military for its service. He said he would offer a lengthier explanation on Tuesday or his decision not to extend the mission into September.
"For now, I will report that it was the unanimous recommendation of the Joint Chiefs and of all of our commanders on the ground to end our airlift mission as planned," Biden said. "Their view was that ending our military mission was the best way to protect the lives of our troops, and secure the prospects of civilian departures for those who want to leave Afghanistan in the weeks and months ahead."
Biden is facing backlash from Republicans in particular after Pentagon officials said they were unable to evacuate every American in Afghanistan who wanted to leave. Conservatives accused Biden of abandoning U.S. citizens, and they pointed to his comments earlier in the month in which the president stressed that any American who wanted to come home would be brought home.
U.S. Central Command leader Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters during a briefing Monday afternoon in Washington that the Americans who wanted to leave and who were not evacuated number in the “very low hundreds.”
“I believe that we’re going to get those people out. I think we’re also going to negotiate very hard and very aggressively to get our other Afghan partners out,” McKenzie said. “Our desire to bring these people out remains as intense as it was before.”
Biden said in his statement that he's tasked Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenPentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability US should call out Nigeria's horrendous religious freedom record Biden struggles to rein in Saudi Arabia amid human rights concerns MORE with coordinating efforts to ensure Americans and Afghan allies can safely leave Afghanistan in the coming weeks.
"The Taliban has made commitments on safe passage and the world will hold them to their commitments," Biden said. "It will include ongoing diplomacy in Afghanistan and coordination with partners in the region to reopen the airport allowing for continued departure for those who want to leave and delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan."
He expressed his gratitude for diplomats and troops who carried out evacuation efforts over the last several weeks as well as volunteers who have aided and will aid refugees in the weeks to come.
Biden closed by recognizing the 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide bombing last week outside the Kabul airport, the deadliest incident in Afghanistan for American troops in several years. Biden met with the families of the fallen troops on Saturday during a dignified transfer of their remains at Dover Air Force Base.