Nikki Haley faults Biden for “embarrassing failure” in Afghanistan

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Washington — Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blamed President Biden for the chaos in Afghanistan following the Taliban's takeover of the country, calling it an “embarrassing failure” of the U.S. government.

“They're not negotiating with the Taliban, they've completely surrendered to the Taliban. They surrendered Bagram Air Force Base, which was a major NATO hub. They surrendered $85 billion worth of equipment and weapons that we should've gotten out of there. They've surrendered the American people and actually withdrew our troops before they withdrew the American people, and they've abandoned our Afghan allies who kept people like my husband safe while they were overseas deploying,” Haley said of the Biden administration in an interview Sunday with “Face the Nation.” “There was no negotiating. This was a complete and total surrender and an embarrassing failure.”

A week after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan amid the U.S. withdrawal from the country by August 31, the Biden administration continues rushing to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies safely amid deadly chaos and confusion outside the airport in Kabul.

But on Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan's capital issued a security warning advising U.S. citizens to “avoid traveling to the airport” unless they've received individual instructions from the U.S. government to do so, due to ongoing security threats.

Over a 24-hour period prior to Sunday morning, 58 military and commercial aircraft carrying roughly 7,800 evacuees had departed the Kabul airport. A total of 25,100 people have been relocated since August 14, a defense official said. While it's unclear how many U.S. citizens have been evacuated from Afghanistan in all, Mr. Biden told ABC News in an interview last week that between 10,000 and 15,000 are in the country.

To assist with the evacuation effort, the Defense Department on Sunday mobilized the use of 18 commercial planes from six U.S. airlines to shuttle evacuees from locations outside Afghanistan. Mr. Biden is set to make remarks about the situation in Afghanistan on Sunday afternoon.

The president has been criticized for his handling of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan and the frenzied evacuation of Americans and Afghans who assisted American troops during the 20 year war there, and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called top administration officials to testify before them beginning next week.

Haley, who served in the Trump administration, said that in the seven months since Mr. Biden took office, the U.S. has “completely surrendered and humiliated ourselves in the eyes of the world.”

“The Biden administration needs to go back and extend that August 31 deadline and make sure that the Taliban knows they've got to let people into the airport, we've got to get our Americans out, we've got to stay true to those Afghan allies that we made promises to, and we've got to make sure we do this in a very strong way going forward,” she said.

While Mr. Biden has continued to stand by his decision to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, he has also blamed former President Donald Trump for leaving the Taliban in “the strongest position militarily since 2001” after the former president's administration negotiated a deal with the group, which included the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan by May.

Haley defended the former president, saying that he “kept terrorism at bay” during his four years in office. 

“There are times where you have to negotiate with the devil, but you negotiate with the devil from a point of strength, you don't do it from a point of weakness,” she said. “We literally have no leverage right now with the Taliban.”

Haley said the top priority for the U.S. now needs to be ensuring Americans get safely out of Afghanistan, and the Biden administration must “never” acknowledge the Taliban as a legitimate regime.

“We have to figure out a way to get our Americans out and to get our allies out,” she said.

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