President Joe Biden took questions from reporters on Friday for the first time since the Taliban took control over Afghanistan and looked visibly uncomfortable and flubbed his words and made innumerable slip ups. These included forgetting questions in between, calling out wrong names and even pronunciation errors.
Moreover, the entire session was full of contradictions that at the end of the day made the entire press conference extremely hilarious. In fact, he at one point also claimed that the Al-Qaeda is "gone". The president also repeatedly spoke inaccurately about facts around the evacuation of US citizens from Kabul airport.
Biden Loses it Again
Biden juggled a volley of questions on Afghanistan, Taliban and the Al-Qaeda, and flubbed his words on multiple times. At one point, in direct contradiction to Pentagon claims, Biden claimed that the Al-Qaeda is "gone." "What interest do we have in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda gone?" the president rhetorically asked the White House press corps.
Biden's assertion is in direct contradiction to a reportfrom the Defense Department Inspector general on Operation Freedom's Sentinel, covering April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021. "The Taliban continued to maintain its relationship with al-Qaeda, providing safe haven for the terrorist group in Afghanistan," the report read.
Biden's claims were soon dismissed by Pentagon press secretary John Kirby. Shortly after the news conference, Kirby said, "We know that Al-Qaeda is a presence...in Afghanistan. We don't have an exact figure [of how many members].
However, the most hilarious moment came almost at the end of the news conference, when Biden once again forgot what he was being asked. As he turned to leave the briefing, a reporter shouted: "Why do you continue to trust the Taliban, Mr. President?
"This is about America leading the world, and all our allies have agreed to that. And by the way, before I made this decision, I was at the G7, as well as met with our NATO partners, and I told them all, every one of them knew and agreed with the decision I made, to jointly end our involvement in Afghanistan," Biden replied without any direct relation to the question and then came the big moment.
"The first part of your question was — I can't remember now," the president told the reporter.
Doha and Not 'Daho' Mr. President
When he was asked about the assurances of security for those reaching airport to fly out of Kabul, Biden replied: "We've been in constant contact with the Taliban leadership on the ground in Kabul, as well as the Taliban leadership in Daho" – accidentally transposing the letters in the capital of Qatar.
Biden didn't make any immediate effort to correct himself but later referred to the location correctly when defending the way the evacuation was handled.
That, however, wasn't the end. He claimed that the entire evacuation process is being handled smoothly and Americans aren't facing any problem getting to the airport. "We have no indication that [Americans] have not been able to get, in Kabul, through the airport. We have made an agreement with the Taliban. Thus far, they have allowed them to go through," Biden told reporters.
"To the best of our knowledge, the Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports,' Biden said.
Moments after Biden's speech was over, Fox News national security reporter Jennifer Griffin blasted Biden for living in an "alternate reality."
"I'm having a hard time digesting what we heard because I couldn't fact-check it fast enough in real-time because there were so many misrepresentations of what is happening on the ground," she said, adding that it was "an alternate reality presented by the White House."
"President Biden just described a very orderly process," NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel said of evacuations after the press conference. "It is far more chaotic than that."
Moreover, Biden during the news conference also at one point admitted that his administration doesn't know how many Americans are still in Afghanistan. The government is working 'to verify the number of Americans still in country as we work on this,' the president said.