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US responds to criticism of Afghanistan withdrawal

The US has hit back at criticism of its pullout from Afghanistan.

The Taliban swept into the capital Kabul over the weekend, completing a rapid takeover of the country since Washington announced it was ending its mission there.

Critics of Joe Biden say his decision to withdraw has undone two decades of work in the country and jeopardised the safety of the Afghan people.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted the pace of the Taliban takeover had taken the Biden administration by surprise.

But, he claimed, the US had fulfilled its role in the country.

“We`’ve been in Afghanistan for 20 years, a trillion dollars,” Blinken told ABC. “Twenty-three hundred American lives lost. And again, thankfully, having succeeded in doing what we set out to do in the first place, the president made the determination that it was time to end this war for the United States to get out of the middle of a civil war in Afghanistan.”

Former US State Secretary Mike Pompeo wasted no time in saying the Biden administration had failed in Afghanistan.

President Biden remained at Camp David on Sunday, receiving regular briefings on Afghanistan and holding secure video conference calls with members of his national security team, according to senior White House officials.

His administration released a single photo of the president alone in a conference room meeting virtually with military, diplomatic and intelligence experts.

The next several days would be critical in determining whether the US is able to regain some level of control over the situation.

The Pentagon and State Department said in a joint statement Sunday that “we are completing a series of steps to secure the Hamid Karzai International Airport to enable the safe departure of US and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.”

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