In a mini-publicity blitz amid dramatic news coverage and skeptical questions about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden’s White House turned to ABC News and George Stephanopoulos for his first exclusive media interview on the topic.
The network just released a teaser clip (watch it below). It will play a bit more on World News Tonight and go to town with the rest on GMA tomorrow morning. In it, Biden tells the journalist there was “no way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing.”
Press Secretary Jen Psaki noted the upcoming interview – taped this afternoon — at the White House press briefing earlier today. The sit-down with the GMA anchor follows Biden’s first public address on the messy withdrawal of U.S. troops that saw the Taliban swing through the country in a victory lap that ended Sunday when its fighters took the capital Kabul and the presidential palace.
Evacuation of U.S. personnel have resumed but were stalled and extremely complicated in recent days as thousands of terrified Afghans mobbed the airport, clogged the runways and even clung to the fuselage of planes in a desperate attempt to escape the country.
The radical Islamic Taliban has declared an amnesty for all citizens, promised girls can go to school and is trying hard to present a more moderate face during this transition, although many doubt it will last. U.S. and some foreign troops have kept a relatively open society over the past 20 years that many fear will close back down.
Look, one of the things we didn’t know is what the Taliban would do in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What they would do. What are they doing now?
Biden said in the interview that the Taliban is “cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, et cetera,” but, he said, “they’re having — we’re having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there.”
Biden said the U.S. is committed to getting every American out of the country even if that potentially extending the mission beyond an August 31 deadline.
“So Americans should understand that troops might have to be there beyond Aug. 31st?” Stephanopoulos asked in the interview.
“No, Americans should understand that we’re gonna try to get it done before Aug. 31st,” Biden responded.
“But if we don’t, the troops will stay…” the reporter said.
“If — if we don’t,” Biden interrupted, “We’ll determine at the time who’s left.”
“And?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“And if you’re American force — if there’s American citizens left, we’re gonna stay to get them all out.”