President Joe Biden on Tuesday mounted a fierce defense of his exit from Afghanistan as the “best decision for America,” the day after the US military withdrawal celebrated by the Taliban as a major victory.
“This is the right decision. A wise decision. And the best decision for America,” Biden said in an address to the nation in Washington, after he stuck to an August 31 deadline to end two decades of bloodshed that began and ended with the hardline Islamists in power.
He spoke after the United Nations warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” in Afghanistan, underscoring the daunting challenges that the victorious Taliban face as they transform from insurgent group to governing power.
For America, Biden argued, the only choice in Afghanistan was “leaving or escalating.” And the president, whose critics have savaged him for his handling of the withdrawal, said the frenzied airlift — which saw the United States and its allies fly more than 120,000 people fleeing the…