CNN Chief international correspondent slams Biden’s Afghanistan response

The airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, has become an “absolute mess,” and flights haven’t taken off in hours, according to CNN’s chief international correspondent. 

“During the last eight hours, the time that we’ve been waiting here, we have not seen a single U.S. flight evacuate people,” CNN’s Clarissa Ward reported Friday morning. “And so one U.S. flight took off about half an hour to an hour ago, but it was filled with U.S. servicemen and women. The people who have been sitting on the tarmac for the last ten hours have not been able to get on a flight.”

President Biden, however, has pushed back at the idea that the United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan was an abject failure. On Thursday, ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden whether the U.S. withdrawal was “a failure of intelligence, planning, execution, or judgment?”

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“Look, it was a simple choice, George,” Biden said. “When you had the government of Afghanistan, the leader of that government, get in a plane and taking off and going to another country; when you saw the significant collapse of the Afghan troops we had trained, up to 300,000 of them, just leaving their equipment and taking off – that was, you know, I’m not, that’s what happened. That’s simply what happened. And so the question was, in the beginning…do we commit to leaving within the timeframe we set, do we extend it to Sept. 1, or do we put significantly more troops in?”

Ward, though, has denounced the Biden administration’s recent talking points on the issue. 

“Listening to the talking points that I was hearing from the Pentagon and the White House, I thought this whole thing was moving along swimmingly now,” Ward said. “And yet here I am, 12 hours later, and I haven’t seen a plane take off in eight hours. And I’m watching children coming up to me and saying, ‘please could you get me some food.’”

Ward then continued questioning the administration’s messaging.

“I come back to the point where did it have to be this way and try to evacuate 60,000 people in a few days with the Taliban providing protection for that operation,” she said. 

Biden also told Stephanopoulos that he did not consider the United States’ withdrawal to be a failure. Ward, however, pushed back on that, too.

“I think a lot of people outside that airport, particularly those taking the kinds of extreme actions we’re talking about, would like to know if this isn’t a failure – what does failure look like exactly?”