White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Tuesday defended the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, telling reporters that President Joe Biden “is taking responsibility for every decision the United States government took with respect to Afghanistan.”
During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Sullivan argued that “when you conclude 20 years of military action in a civil war in another country, with the impacts of 20 years of decisions that have piled up, you have to make a lot of hard calls – not all with clean outcomes. What you can do is plan for all contingencies. We did that.”
Biden is ultimately ready to take responsibility for those choices, he added.
“As he said, the buck stops with him,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan also said he takes responsibility – along with other top national security officials – for the current state of affairs in Afghanistan, where the Taliban has assumed control in many areas, including the capital city of Kabul, amid the US’ draw down in the region.
“We, as a national security team, collectively take responsibility for every decision – good decision, every decision that doesn’t produce perfect outcomes,” Sullivan said.
But he added that “at the same time, that doesn’t change the fact that there are other parties here responsible as well, who have taken actions and decisions that helped lead us to where we are.”
Sullivan said that earlier Tuesday morning, Biden spoke with military commanders for an operational briefing on the security at the airport in Kabul, the same airport where scenes of chaos have unfolded this week as Afghans have attempted to leave the country amid the Taliban’s arrival. Biden was briefed on the airport being secured by Defense Department personnel and is open.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris also met with their national security team to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s DJ Judd contributed to this report.