tv President Biden Remarks on Terror Attack in Afghanistan CSPAN August 26, 2021 5:56pm-6:26pm EDT
-- >> she had one agenda which was ronald reagan's well-being and success. she was also had better instincts tell people that he did, it was -- she had a better nose were troubled and he did. the people in the administration who understood all of this recognized her power, like the secretary of state at the time, when the white house chief of staff, james baker. they understood that she was an important, crucial ally to have. we were trying to get ronald reagan on board. >> her biography sunday night. you can also find acuity interviews wherever you get your podcasts.
it also wounded a number of civilians who were killed as well. i have been engaged all day in constant contact the military commanders here in washington and the pentagon as well as in afghanistan and doha. my commanders here in washington and the field have been on this with detail and you have had a chance to speak to some so far. the situation on the ground is still evolving. i'm constantly being updated. the servicemembers who gave their lives, it's an overused word, but totally appropriate, they are heroes. heroes who have been engaged in
a selfless mission to save the lives of others. they were part of an airlift, an evacuation effort unlike any seen in history. with more than 100,000 american citizens, american partners, afghans who helped us, and others taken to safety in the last 11 days. in the last 12 hours or so, another 7,000. they are part of the most capable and selfless military, and they are part of what i call the backbone of america, the spine of america, the best the country has to offer. jill and i's hearts ache as all yours do as well.
for everyone who has been killed or wounded in this vicious attack. we are outraged and heartbroken. being the father of a army major who served a year in a rack and before that was in casado as a u.s. attorney for six months in the middle of a war. when he came home after a year, he was diagnosed, like many coming home, with an aggressive and lethal cancer to the brain. we have some sense, like many of you do, what the families of these brave heroes are feeling. a feeling like you're being sucked into a black hole in the middle of your chest. there is no way out.
my heart aches for you. i know this, we have a continued obligation, a sacred obligation, all of you, the families of those heroes, and obligation is not temporary, it lasts forever. the lives we lost today will lives given in the service of liberty, the service of security, and service of others. and the service of america. like their fellow brothers and sisters in arms who died defending our vision and values in the struggle against terrorism of the fallen this day, they are a part of a great noble company of american heroes. those that carried out this
attack as well as anyone who wishes america harm, know this, we will not forgive, we will not forget. we will hunt you down and make you pay. i will defend our interests and people with every measure at my command. over the past few weeks, i know many of you are probably tired of hearing me say it, we have been made aware, our intelligence community, that the isis-k, and arch enemy of the taliban, people freed when both those prisons were opened, has been planning a complex set of attacks on u.s. personal and others. this is why in the outset, i have repeatedly said this
mission was extraordinary dangerous and it's why i have been so determined to limit the duration of this mission. this is why the mission was designed to operate, to operate under severe stress and attack. we have knows that from the beginning. as i have been constant contact with our military leaders, around the clock, and our commander struck the ground throughout the day, they made it clear that we can and must complete this mission. and we will. that is what i have ordered them to do. we will not be deterred by terrorists. we will not let them stop our nation. we will continue the evacuation. i have also ordered commanders to develop operational plans to strike isis-k leadership and facilities.
we will respond with force and precision at the place which is in the moment of our choosing. here is what you need to know. these isis terrorists will not win. we will rescue the americans, we will get our afghan allies, and our mission will go on. america will not be intimidated. i have the utmost confidence in our brave service members who continue to execute this mission with courage and honor, to save lives and get americans, our partners, and our afghan allies out of afghanistan. every day when i talk to our commanders, i asked them what they need, anything to get the job done. they will tell you i have granted every request.
i reiterated to them today that they should take the maximum steps necessary to protect our forces on the ground in kabul. i also want to think the secretary of defense and military leadership at the pentagon, and all the commanders in the field. there has been complete anonymity of an every commander of the adjectives of this mission in the best way to achieve those objectives. those have served through the ages have drawn inspiration from the book of isaiah and the lord says, who shall i send? who shall go for us? the american military has been answering for a long time, here i am, lord. send me. here i am, send me. each one of those women and men of our armed forces are the heirs of that tradition and sacrifice risking everything not for glory or profit, but to defend what we love and the people we love. i ask that you join me now in a moment of silence for all those
we have to remain steadfast. steadfast. we will complete our mission, and we will continue after our troops are withdrawn to find means by which we can find any american who wishes to get out of afghanistan. we will find them and get them out. ladies and gentlemen, they gave me a list here. the first person i was instructed to call on was kelly o'donnell of nbc. >> if you have said leaving afghanistan is in the national interest of the u.s. after today's attack, do you believe you will authorize additional forces to respond to that attack inside afghanistan? and are you prepared to add additional forces to protect those americans who remain on the ground carrying out the evacuation operation? pres. biden: i instructed the military, whatever they need, if they need additional force, i will grant it.
the military from the chairman of the joint chief, commanders in the field have all contact me one way or another saying they subscribe to the mission as designed. to get as many people out as we can and in the timeframe that is allotted. that is the best way they believe to get as many americans out as possible and others. with regard to finding, tracking down the isis leaders who ordered this, we have some reason to believe we know who they are and i'm certain we will find ways without large military operations to get them. wherever they are.
trevor? >> thank you mr. president. there has been some criticism even from people in your party about the dependence on the taliban to secure the perimeter of the airport. do you feel like there was a mistake made in that regard? pres. biden: no, i don't. look, i think general mckenzie handled this question very well. the fact is that we are in a situation and as we all know that the afghan military collapsed 11 days -- in 11 days. it is in the interest, as mackenzie said, the interest of the taliban that in fact isis-k
is not beyond what it is. number two, it is in their interest that we are able to leave on time, on target. as a consequence of that, the major things we have asked them, moving back the perimeter, giving more space between the wall, stopping vehicles from coming through, etc., searching people coming through. it is a tightly commanded, -- it is not a tightly commanded regimen that the u.s. is. they are acting in their interest. their interest. by and large, and i have asked the same question to military on the ground whether or not it is
a useful exercise. no one trusts them, we are counting on their self-interest to continue to generate their activities. it is in their self-interest that we leave when we said and that we get we get is any people out as we can. like i said, if anything happened today, over 7000, we have gotten out over 5000 americans. it is not a matter of trust, it is a matter of mutual self-interest. there is no evidence thus far that i have been given as a consequence by any of our commanders in the field that there has been collusion between
the taliban and isis in carrying out what happened today, both in front of the hotel and what is expected to continue for beyond today. amir, associated press? >> thank you mr. president. you have spoken powerfully about your own son and the weight of these decisions. with that in mind, and also with what you have said that the longer we stay, the more likelihood there would be a major attack, how do you weigh staying even one more day considering what has happened? pres. biden: i think what
america says matters. what we say we are going to do in the context of which we say we will do it, we do it. unless something exceptional changes. there are additional american citizens, there are additional green card holders, additional personnel of our allies, additional sib cardholders, there are additional afghans that have helped us, and there are additional groups of individuals that contacted us from women's groups to ngo's, and others who have expressly indicated they want to get out. and, have gathered in certain
circumstances, in groups on buses and other means. that still presents the opportunity for the next several days, now the 31st, to be able to get them out. our military, and i believe to the extent we can do that knowing the threat, knowing that we may very well have another attack, the military has concluded that is what we should do. i think they are right. i think they are correct. after that, we are going to be in a circumstance where there are -- will be numerous opportunities to continue to provide access for additional persons to get out of afghanistan. either through means that we provide and/or are provided through cooperation with the taliban.
they are not good guys, the taliban. i am not suggesting that. but, they have keen interests. as many of you have been reporting, they very much would like to figure out how to keep the airport open and have the capacity to do it. they very much are trying to figure out whether or not they can maintain what is a portion of an economy that has become not robust, but fundamentally different than it had been. there is a lot of reasons why they have reached out not just to us, but to others, as to why it would be continued in their interest to get more of the personnel we wanted to get out, and locate others. there are not many left that can
assess that want to come out. some americans have identified, we have contacted the vast majority of them. who don't want to leave. they are dual nationals, they have extended families, etc.. there are others who are looking for the time. that is why we continue. i will take a few more questions. >> i wanted to ask you, you say what america says matters. what do you say to the afghans who helped the troops, who might not be able to get out by august 31? pres. biden: we will continue to try to get you out. i know of no conflict in -- as a student of history, no conflict where when a war was ended one side was able to guarantee that
everyone that wanted to be extracted from that country would get out. think about it, folks. i know the american people get this in their gut. there are, i would argue, many afghan citizens were not taliban, who did not actively cooperate with us as sibs, who if given a chance would be on board a plane tomorrow. sounds ridiculous, but the vast majority of people and communities like that want to come to america given the choice. so, getting every single person out is -- can't be guaranteed because the determination of who wants to get out.
>> there are reports that u.s. officials provided the taliban with names of americans and afghan officials to evacuate. were you aware of that? did that happen? can you personally reject both recordation to hold or recapture the air force base question mark air force base? pres. biden: how to conduct evacuation or war, gather up all the personnel. i ask for their best military judgment. what would be the most efficient way to accomplish the mission. they concluded, the military,
that bagram was not much value. it was much wiser to focus on kabul. so, i followed that recommendation. with regard to -- there are circumstances. where we have gotten information, and sometimes some of you saying you know of such and such, a group of people are trying to get out, they are on a bus moving from other people. and, this is their location. there have been occasions when our military has contacted their military counterparts in the taliban and said this, this bus is coming through with x number of people on it made up of the following group of people. we want you to let that bus or group through. so yes, there had been occasions like that.
to the best of my knowledge, in those cases, the bulk of that has occurred and they have been let through. i cannot tell you with any certainty that there has been a list of names. there might have been. i know of no circumstance. that does not mean it does not exist. that here are the names of 12 people come through. that could have happened. i will take one more question. many take the one question from the most interesting guy i know in the press. that's you. >> there has not been a u.s. servicemember killed in combat in afghanistan since february of 2020. you set a deadline, pulled troops out, he sent troops back in and now 12 marines are dead. you said the bus stops with you,
you bear any response ability for the way things have unfolded in the last two weeks? pres. biden: i bear responsibility for fundamentally all that has happened. here is the deal. you know i wish you one day see these things, you know as well as i do that the former president made a deal with the taliban to get all american forces out of afghanistan by may 1. in return that the commitment was made. in return, he was given the commitment that the taliban would attack others but not attack any american forces. remember that? i'm being serious. i am asking you a question. wait a minute, i am asking you a question. is that accurate? [indiscernible] i think they have an issue that people are likely to get hurt
the reason why, with her my friend has acknowledged it or reported it, the reason why there was no attack on americans from the date was because the commitment was made by president trump i will be out by may 1. in the meantime, you agree not to attack any americans, that was the deal. that is why no american was attacked. >> e said we squarely spend by my decision. pres. biden: yes i do. look at it this way, i have another meeting, for real. imagine where we would be if i had indicated on may 1 that i was not going to negotiate an evacuation date and we were going to stay there. i only had one alternative, for thousands of troops back into afghanistan to fight a war we had already won relative to the reason we went in the first place. i have never been in the view that we should be sacrificing american lives to try to establish a democratic government in afghanistan, a country that has never once in
its entire history been a united country, and is made up, i don't mean this in a derogatory way, they are made up of tribes who have never gotten along with one another. so, as i have said before, this is the last comment i will make. we will have more chance to talk about this beyond because we are not out yet. if osama bin laden as well as al qaeda had chosen to launch an attack and left saudi arabia out of yemen, would we have ever gone to afghanistan? even though the taliban completely controlled afghanistan at the time, would we have ever gone? i know it is not fair to ask you that question, but raise your hand if you think we should have gone, given up thousands of lives and tens of thousands of wounded.
our interest in going was to prevent al qaeda from reemerging. first we get bin laden, wipe out al qaeda in afghanistan and prevented from happening again. terrorism has metastasized around the world and we have greater threats coming from other countries closer to the u.s. we don't have military encampments there, we don't keep people there. ladies and gentlemen, it was time to end a 20 year war. thank you so much. >> we take you live to the white house where press secretary jen psaki is holding a briefing. this is live coverage on c-span. >> president has spoken a lot about the