WASHINGTON — President Biden defended his decision to withdraw American troops on Tuesday in a major speech at the White House.
"I believe this is the right decision, a wise decision and the best decision for America," Biden said.
THOSE HELPED AND THOSE WHO WEREN'T
Over 120,000 people were evacuated, including around 6,000 Americans over the last several weeks.
However, more than 100 Americans were left behind as well as thousands of Afghans who fear retribution from the Taliban.
Millions of Afghan citizens are at economic risk in the coming weeks as the United Nations warns of a "collapsing" supply chain.
The UN Secretary General just released this statement expressing concerns of “basic services collapsing completely” in Afghanistan.— Alex Miller (@AlexMillerNews) August 31, 2021
He says he’ll release details next week with a plan for the next four months regarding humanitarian needs and funding. pic.twitter.com/Exy74eNvxP
LEADERSHIP GOING FORWARD
So who will help those left behind? It will not be the U.S. military.
However, the State Department has been charged with working with the Taliban in a limited capacity.
Taliban officials have promised to cooperate and assist Americans and Afghan nationals with proper travel documents.
"August 31st is not a cliff," Jake Sullivan, President Biden's national security adviser, told CNN on Sunday.
Sullivan stressed the U.S. had leverage over the Taliban to continue limited evacuation efforts.
However, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, the American embassy in Kabul will not be reopened.
Diplomatic negotiations will take place in Doha, Qatar where American diplomats focused on Afghanistan will take up residence.
OTHER COUNTRIES MOVING-IN
As a result of the U.S. leaving Afghanistan, other countries and organizations are poised to take a more prominent role in Afghanistan.
Leaders in China and Russia have released statements suggesting a willingness to work with the Taliban.
Pakistan has worked with the World Health Organization in the last several days to fly-in urgently needed medical supplies to Kabul.
That suggests a willingness by the Taliban to work with some international organizations.
Still, after 20 years of war, trusting the Taliban will take time for many U.S. officials.
Meanwhile, questions continue to swirl as to what life will be like in Afghanistan going forward.
The Taliban has already restricted bank withdrawals to $200 a week.