By Tyler Olson
President Biden will deliver an address from the White House at 3:45 p.m. ET Monday amid a dire situation in Afghanistan that forced Americans to abandon their Kabul embassy Sunday as the Taliban took over the country.
The change in schedule came after intense pressure on the president, who has been out of Washington, D.C., at Camp David over the weekend, to speak about the affair that’s being compared to Americans’ withdrawal from Saigon. The Taliban took over the entire country in mere days, killing American allies along the way. The U.S. is now struggling to keep the Kabul airport open for those still hoping to flee.
The scenes at the airport are notably stark, with a flood of civilians trying to force their way onto exiting airplanes and some Afghans reportedly falling from the sky as they cling onto departing American airplanes in a desperate effort to escape the Taliban’s rule.
The president’s advisers had teased an appearance earlier in the day.
“I expect you’ll hear from the president in the coming days. I don’t want to get ahead of any announcement that he may have, Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said on MSNBC Monday.
Biden will speak to the American people “soon,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on ABC, adding that Biden is “deeply engaged.” on the issue.
“It is shameful that Joe Biden hasn’t spoken to the American people for six days while this all plays out, but what could he say?” Fox News contributor Marc Theissen said Monday on “America’s Newsroom.” He said the failed withdrawal is “the most shocking thing I’ve witnessed in my career in Washington… he really shouldn’t show his face.”
Former President Donald Trump – who advocated withdrawing from Afghanistan as well – and some congressional Republicans called on Biden to resign over the weekend over his handling of the American exit from Afghanistan.
All U.S. evacuation flights have been suspended at Kabul International Airport, Fox News confirmed Monday. A U.S. official said the runway is “not secure” after hundreds of Afghans “breached” the airport walls and flooded the runway.
Until the runway is cleared of Afghans desperate to escape following the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country, all U.S. military and charter flights are suspended, the official said.
Biden said earlier this year that all American military would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11. He repeatedly dismissed the notion that without American support the country would fall into the hands of the brutal Taliban, which has a history of allowing terrorist organizations to flourish under its rule.
“The Taliban is not the south — the North Vietnamese army. They’re not — they’re not remotely comparable in terms of capability.” Biden said last month. “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy … of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”
Yet a strikingly similar situation happened in Afghanistan, with Americans evacuating the embassy and setting up shop at the last place in Afghanistan controlled by any institution other than the Taliban – the Kabul airport.
But the situation at the airport is deteriorating as well. U.S. forces killed two gunman in two separate incidents in Kabul, a U.S. official told Fox News, after they fired into crowds of Afghans at the airport.
At least 7 people have been killed at Kabul International Airport Monday, where Afghans have been flocking in desperate attempts to flee the Taliban, reports also say.
Senior U.S. military officials that spoke to the Associate Press on condition of anonymity said the figure includes Afghans seen in social media videos falling from the sky after clinging onto the side of American C-17 plane during takeoff.