President Joe Biden on Monday said he would address the American people Tuesday afternoon regarding the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
In a statement issued just hours after the U.S. military completed its withdrawal from Bagram Air Base on Monday, the president said the world will hold the Taliban to its commitment to allow safe passage for those remaining in Afghanistan who to want to leave.
"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 in a short statement Monday, The Hill reported. "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 has faced criticism from Republicans and from some in his own party, as well as from the mainstream news media over what they called a botched withdrawal. Biden reportedly ignored his own advisers and adamantly stuck to an Aug. 31 deadline, while abandoning other air bases and leaving many Afghans who aided U.S. efforts behind. They fear for their lives with the country under Taliban control again.
U.S. Central Command leader Gen. Frank McKenzie Jr. said in a Pentagon briefing Monday that Americans still in Afghanistan who want to leave are 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," he added. "Our desire to bring these people out remains as intense as it was before."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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