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Report: Biden ‘exploded’ as Afghanistan collapsed

 September 6, 2023

President Joe Biden is said to have displayed intense emotion upon learning that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani departed Kabul just before the Taliban's impending takeover back in 2021, as Fox News reports.

This revelation is from the upcoming book The Last Politician by reporter Franklin Foer, which sheds light on the internal dynamics of the White House during the tumultuous 2021 American exit from Afghanistan.

Looking back on the tumultuous period of time, Foer writes that Biden had commenced his mid-August break at Camp David on Aug. 12, 2021. However, his leisure was disrupted three days later when National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan briefed him on the dramatic development and informed him that Ghani had fled.

Upon hearing the news, "Biden exploded in frustration" and declared, "Give me a break!" as noted in the upcoming book.

Officials on Leave During Crucial Moment

The situation in Afghanistan caught everyone off-guard, not just Biden, according to the author. The prevailing assumption in the Biden administration was that a seamless transition of power to the Afghan government would remain underway until Aug. 31, 2021.

Contrary to these predictions, the Taliban swiftly began their territorial conquests, with the U.S. rapidly vacating multiple bases.

The timing coincided with several top-tier White House personnel being away on vacation. Apart from President Biden's vacation at Camp David, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was enjoying time in the Hamptons, and then-White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, had decamped with her family to the beach.

One of the most poignant moments during this period occurred on Aug. 16, 2021, when a U.S. C-17 military aircraft was lifting off from Kabul, teeming with evacuees.

Disturbing visuals emerged of Afghans clinging to the plane's landing gear, with some falling off mid-air. These visuals prompted Psaki to consider cutting her vacation short.

Foer writes that Psaki wrote to then-White House chief of staff Ron Klain: "I'm contemplating coming back," and Klain responded: "I'm sorry. I think you need to."

Biden's Involvement in Evacuation

Despite criticisms, President Biden remained actively engaged in the evacuation process. Foer suggests that Biden was consistently brainstorming ways to enhance evacuation efforts and frequently requested status updates on individual evacuees.

The Biden-led operation successfully evacuated 120,000 individuals from Afghanistan as the Taliban exerted its dominance.

Yet, Foer opines that this substantial logistical achievement couldn't shake off the perception of a delayed administration response to developments on the ground.

Foer's book indicates that the White House was "stung" not only by the criticisms from conservative media but also from the columnists and journalists whom Biden's core team held in high regard.

Biden reportedly acknowledged the unfavorable press with the words, "We're getting killed," expressing his deep-seated frustration.

However, despite mounting criticism, President Biden remained steadfast in his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. Contrary to the projections of many foreign policy experts, Biden was unwavering.

Foer's new book encapsulates the initial two years of the Biden presidency, concluding with the 2022 midterms.