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John Kirby has heated exchange with Fox’s Peter Doocy over whether Biden is ‘proud’ of Afghan withdrawal

“Proud of the fact that new how have about 100,000 Afghans, our former allies and partners, living in this country and working toward citizenship?” Mr Kirby said. “You bet.”

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 06 April 2023 22:44 BST
Related video: White House blames Trump administration for Afghanistan withdrawal chaos

Fox News' Peter Doocy and National Security Council spokesman John Kirby got into a heated exchange during a White House press briefing when the reporter questioned whether the Biden administration was "proud" of its exit from Afghanistan.

The White House issued a report on Thursday outlining the decisions behind its withdrawal from Afghanistan, notably blaming the Trump administration for setting the stage for the chaotic exit. The dramatic exit after more than two decades of conflict was criticised by Republicans, who made a crusade out of 13 soldiers who were killed helping to evacuate people from the Kabul airport.

More than 2,400 American military members died in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2021.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Doocy pushed back against the administration's portrayal of the exit, asking if they were "proud" of how the operation unfolded.

"There were children being killed. There were people hanging off of Air Force jets that were leaving," Mr Doocy said, with a clearly incredulous tone. "You're saying you guys are proud of the way this mission was conducted? You're proud of that?"

Mr Kirby fired back at Doocy, listing what he considered accomplishments on the day of the withdrawal.

"Proud of the fact that we got more than 124,000 people safely out of Afghanistan? You bet," he said. "Proud of the fact that American troops were able to seize control of a defunct airport and get it operational in 48 hours? You bet."

Mr Kirby continued, with force.

"Proud of the fact that new how have about 100,000 Afghans, our former allies and partners, living in this country and working toward citizenship?” he said. “You bet."

He noted that the operation wasn't perfect, but maintained that it was successful when considering the circumstances.

"Now does that mean that everything went perfect in that evacuation? Of course not," he said. "Nobody is saying that everything was perfect. But there was a lot that went right, and a lot of Afghans are now living better lives in this country and other countries around the world because of the sacrifices and the work of so many American government officials."

He hammered his point home, glaring at Doocy, saying "so yeah, there's a lot to be proud of Peter."

While Mr Kirby's points focus on the Afghan citizens who made it out of the country, millions more were immediately back under Taliban rule, which created a refugee crisis as Afghans fled.

More than 240,000 Afghans died during the two decades of US-led conflict in Afghanistan, according to Brown University's Cost of War project. Approximately 70,000 of those deaths were civilians.

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