Biden to speak 'soon' on Afghanistan: aide

Washington (AFP) –


President Joe Biden will deliver comments "soon" about Afghanistan, a key aide said Monday as the US leader faces sharp criticism for the Taliban sweep into Kabul and the government's fall.

Afghan's President Ashraf Ghani flew out of the country on Sunday night as the insurgents encircled the capital, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan's 20-year war.

"They (Americans) can expect to hear from the president soon. He's right now actively engaged with his national security team. He is working the situation hard," White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told ABC.

He did not elaborate on timing or the form of the comments from Biden, who spent the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat and was due to remain there until midweek.

However that plan may face pressure to change after the brutally sudden fall of Kabul to the Taliban, nearly 20 years after they were toppled from power in a US-led invasion sparked by the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Biden has faced heated criticism that the US troop withdrawal was mismanaged, with the United States racing to evacuate its sprawling embassy just a month after he played down fears the Afghan government would crumble quickly.

"America's adversaries know they can threaten us, and our allies are questioning this morning whether they can count on us for anything," said Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican hawk, in a Sunday interview with ABC.

Biden's most recent comments on Afghanistan came last week, with the president saying he did not regret his withdrawal decision and that the Afghans must "fight for themselves."

The White House let it be known over the weekend that Biden was following the developments in Afghanistan, and tweeted out a picture Sunday of the president during a video conference briefing.

Biden has said there was no choice but to withdraw American troops and he would not "pass this war" onto another president.

But Washington was left shocked by the rapid collapse of the Afghan government, and critics have said the United States' reputation as a global power has been badly tarnished.