Biden  presidency shaken to core by Kabul bombings

Washington: Eyes closing, voice cracking, Joe Biden physically reflected the terrible blow to his presidency from the slaying of 13 US service members during the desperate Kabul evacuation.

Addressing the nation from the White House, Biden bowed his head for a moment of silence before taking questions from journalists pressing him on the bloody twist in the already tragic operation to shut down the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

He appeared occasionally close to tears as he spoke of the dead “heroes.” And when he promised the attackers “we will hunt you down,” there was steel in his voice. No doubt that Biden’s presidency has been shaken to the core by the bombing at Kabul’s airport.

In January, he took office promising calm at home and respect for the United States abroad after the turbulent Donald Trump years.

Now Biden’s been left with a mountain to climb if he’s to persuade the nation and America’s partners that either goal remains achievable.

The 78-year-old Democrat was already reeling from the almost overnight collapse of the US-backed government and US-created army, leaving the handful of remaining US troops and many thousands of US citizens and allies at the Taliban’s mercy.

Working around the clock for 10 days, his administration had thought perhaps it could still pull triumph from disaster.

The airlift was going far better than predicted, with the US military performing flawlessly and the Taliban more or less keeping its end of the bargain in securing Kabul.

Early Thursday in Washington, the White House proudly rolled out the latest remarkable figures: more than 95,000 people safely flown out since Kabul’s fall to the Taliban.

Shutting himself away with aides in the Situation Room, Biden canceled a meeting of state governors and told visiting Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that their planned meeting in the Oval Office would have to wait until Friday. – AFP