Speed Reads

'heartbreaking'

Biden: The 'sheer desperation' in Afghanistan is 'completely understandable'

President Biden on Friday spoke to the situation unfolding in Afghanistan, addressing his administration's much-criticized withdrawal response and the chaotic and dangerous effort to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies.

"The past week has been heartbreaking," said Biden. "We've seen gut-wrenching images of panicked people acting out of sheer desperation. You know, it's completely understandable. They're frightened. They're sad. Uncertain what happens next."

"I don't think anyone, any one of us can see these pictures and not feel that pain on a human level," he added.

The president also defended the disorder coming out of the airport at Kabul, maintaining the operation to be one of the "largest, most difficult airlifts in history," and one that could only be attempted and carried out by the United States. 

He noted that roughly 13,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the operation began on Aug. 14, but the administration is reportedly still working to determine how many Americans are left.