By Jenny Goldsberry
Biden addressed the nation about the Taliban overtaking Afghanistan Monday. Most Americans, 69.3% disapprove of his handling of Afghanistan military operations according to this weekend’s poll from the Trafalgar Group.
“My national security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan,” Biden said, calling it a “rapid collapse.” But, he doubled down saying the mission from the beginning was “never supposed to be nation-building,” or “unifying.” Instead, he said it was about “preventing another terrorist attack on American homeland.”
“There was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,” Biden said. “The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”
Yet to Biden, the developments of the past week confirmed to him that it was the right decision to withdraw. “Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves,” he said. Despite training and equipping the force, the 300,000 strong military collapsed. According to him, it was a force “larger in size than many of our NATO allies.” Then, the U.S. provided Afghanistan with an air force, something the Taliban does not have. Still the U.S. will continue to provide close air support.
“We could not provide them a will to fight for that future,” Biden said. “It is wrong to order military troops to step up when Afghanistan’s own forces would not.” In the meanwhile, Biden claimed our troops were “bearing the brunt of the fighting for them.”
Now, there are 6,000 soldiers assisting withdrawal and escape for Americans and at-risk Afghans. They have taken over air traffic control, transferring diplomats to the airport as well.
Biden did not take questions following the press conference.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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Mental health crisis spikes among Afghan women after Taliban regained control two years ago
The women of Afghanistan are suffering a mental health crisis since the Taliban regained power two years ago. According to a joint report from three U.N. agencies released Tuesday, approximately 70% of women experience feelings of anxiety, isolation and depression.
The numbers continue to rise, as there has already been a significant jump between April and June of this year alone, with an increase from 57% the preceding quarter.
The report, conducted by U.N. Women, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, interviewed women online, in-person and in group consultations as well as individual telesurveys.
592 Afghan women in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces took part in the study. The Associated Press reports:
They have barred women from most areas of public life and work and banned girls from going to school beyond the sixth grade. They have prohibited Afghan women from working at local and non-governmental organizations. The ban was extended to employees of the United Nations in April.
Opportunities to study continued to shrink as community-based education by international organizations was banned and home-based schooling initiatives were regularly shut down by the de facto authorities — a term use by the U.N. for the Taliban government.
Afghanistan is the only country in the world with restrictions on female education and the rights of Afghan women and children are on the agenda of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
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