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Biden's Afghanistan Speech Garners Mixed Reviews

By VOA News August 16, 2021

A roundup compiled by VOA of some reaction by U.S. lawmakers and analysts to President Joe Biden's speech on Afghanistan:

"President Biden chose a dangerous and dishonorable path in Afghanistan, and he has no one to blame for this debacle but himself." — Lindsey Graham, Republican U.S. Senator.

"There is plenty that lawmakers disagree on with respect to withdrawal from Afghanistan, but we all agree that the United States must evacuate vulnerable Afghans immediately. The president reaffirmed this today, and I urge his administration to do everything possible to evacuate them and their families and deal with the bureaucracy later. Lives are on the line." — Jeanne Shaheen, Democratic U.S. Senator.

"Biden's argument that human rights are at the center of his foreign policy rings hollow as the Taliban reestablish the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan." — American Enterprise Institute fellow Katie Zimmerman.

"I think he made a strong case — that no matter how long we stayed, we couldn't achieve the objective of somehow creating an effective government and democracy." — Anthony Cordesman, strategy chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The only thing he seemed to concede in terms of his responsibility was the fact that they had underestimated the speed at which the Taliban took territory and ultimately took Kabul." — Aaron David Miller, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace senior fellow. (Miller served as a State Department Middle East adviser and negotiator and an analyst in Republican and Democratic administrations.)

"President Biden is not alone in bearing blame for the events unfolding in Afghanistan. The senior military and intelligence officials, who for years gave an inaccurate picture of the realities on the ground to Congress, must also be held responsible." — Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks.

"As Biden said today, there is no evidence that another six months, another year, another two years would have changed the outcome. It doesn't make sense to put good money after bad." — Charles Kupchan, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

VOA's Steve Herman, Jesusemen Oni, Steve Miller and Keida Kostreci. contributed to this article.

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