‘Devastated’: Joe Biden slammed ​

Tuesday - 17/08/2021 09:32
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House. Picture: Brendan SmialowskiSource:AFP
US President Joe Biden speaks about the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House. Picture: Brendan SmialowskiSource:AFP
Australia’s former ambassador to Israel has hit out at US President Joe Biden’s response to the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan.

Australia’s former ambassador to Israel has slammed US President Joe Biden’s response to the tragic events unfolding in Afghanistan, saying he is unconvinced by his excuses for withdrawal.

Meanwhile Australia’s Immigration Minister, when Australia went to war in Afghanistan in the Howard goverment, Phillip Ruddock, has said he is “devastated”.

Dave Sharma, who is also a federal Liberal MP and international advisor to the Federal Government, appeared on the ABC’s Afternoon Briefing program, slamming the US exit, claiming he is “very disappointed” in Washington.

Meanwhile Mr Ruddock said “given the long association” he has with Afghanistan, he is “devastated in the way in which the events have unfolded as they have”.

“I do very much look at it with a sense of foreboding,” he said.

Mr Biden faces increasing criticism over the disorganised pullout of American troops after 20 years of US-led military intervention, defending the withdrawal while blaming Afghan forces whom he said were “not willing to fight for themselves”.

Mr Sharma, who has also held a senior role at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the unfolding situation in Afghanistan is “heartbreaking” and “tragic”, describing scenes where people fell to their death mid-air after climbing onto a US Air Force plane in desperate bid to escape as “heart-wrenching”.

“It’s chaotic in Kabul. It’s a highly uncertain, highly unstable, difficult environment,” Mr Sharma said.

RELATED: Horror footage as Americans flee Afghanistan

RELATED: PM: Australia can’t help all locals who helped troops
 

President Joe Biden broke his silence on the US fiasco in Afghanistan with his address to the nation from the White House. Picture: Brendan Smialowski
President Joe Biden broke his silence on the US fiasco in Afghanistan
with his address to the nation from the White House.
Picture: Brendan SmialowskiSource:AFP

 

On Tuesday the Taliban moved quickly to restart the Afghan capital following their stunning takeover of Kabul and told government staff to return to work, though residents reacted cautiously and few women took to the streets, according to AFP.
 

A market place, flocked with local Afghan people at the Kote Sangi area of Kabul after Taliban seized control of the capital following the collapse of the Afghan government. Picture: Hoshang Hashimi
A market place, flocked with local Afghan people at the Kote Sangi area of Kabul
after Taliban seized control of the capital following the collapse of the Afghan government.
Picture: Hoshang HashimiSource:AFP

 

 
Taliban fighters on a pick-up truck move around the market area. Picture: Hoshang Hashimi
Taliban fighters on a pick-up truck move around the market area. Picture: Hoshang HashimiSource:AFP

 

In his first public appearance since the Islamist insurgents seized control of the country at the weekend, he admitted the Taliban advance had unfolded more quickly than expected.

But he heaped criticism on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government and insisted he had no regrets and emphasised US troops could not defend a nation whose leaders “gave up and fled”.

“We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future,” Mr Biden said in his address at the White House.

“American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”
 

 

Mr Sharma said he “did not think this day needed to come” and that the United States needed to maintain a “stabilising” presence in the region.

“Once the US started heading for the exit is when the morale of the Afghan national forces collapsed, they weren’t able to get their aircraft in the air, they weren’t able to service their helicopters, any number of other things they relied upon in the past.

“It gave the Taliban a huge amount of momentum.”

The United States had sent 6000 troops to ensure the safe evacuation of embassy staff, as well as Afghans who worked as interpreters or in other support roles.

Other governments, including France, Germany and Australia, also organised charter flights.

But yesterday, shocking scenes emerged after “chaos” erupted at Kabul International Airport, both from a stampede on the tarmac and horror from the sky.

Footage showed Afghans clamouring onto the side of the USAFC-17 and clinging on to its undercarriage as it struggled down the tarmac.

Subsequent footage also showed people falling from the sky.


 

Mr Sharma said he was “surprised” by Mr Biden’s comments, saying he didn’t find his speech “particularly convincing.

“The US hasn’t been there (for Afghan forces). I didn’t find it a very convincing explanation or a convincing rationale for US actions in this instance.

“I’m very disappointed from what I’ve seen from Washington coming out of this crisis.”

“In Afghanistan, we were never going to create Singapore or Central Asia, but we also never wanted to leave a failed state or a state of deep civil war and I hope that’s not what results from this withdrawal.”

Dave Sharma in Sydney. Picture: Joel Carrett
Dave Sharma in Sydney. Picture: Joel CarrettSource:News Corp Australia

 

— with AFP


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