WASHINGTON –  President Joe Biden on Monday said he stands by his decision to pull American troops out of Afghanistan and said the Taliban’s swift seizure of Kabul unfolded “more quickly than we anticipated.”

“I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said during a prepared speech at the White House. 

Biden had not yet spoken publicly about the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country,  a foreign policy debacle – particularly for a president who came to the office with decades of foreign policy experience. 

Taliban fighters completed their stunning sweep by seizing control of Afghanistan’s capital Sunday as American troops scrambled to evacuate thousands of U.S. diplomats and Afghans from the U.S. Embassy.

Biden said there have “gut-wrenching” scenes in Afghanistan as the U.S. struggles to pull out its people. He spent more time defending his overall plan to withdraw from the country, as well as efforts to close the embassy and secure the airport in order to fly people to safety.

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