President Joe Biden has come under heavy scrutiny for presiding over a chaotic effort to pull out of Afghanistan, but during an ABC News interview the president indicated he does not believe there was an avenue for America to withdraw "without chaos ensuing."
Biden said, "The idea that somehow there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens."
"So for you that was always priced into the decision?" interviewer George Stephanopoulos asked.
"Yes," the president said.
"Now exactly what happened, I've not priced in," Biden said, according to ABC News. "But I knew that they're going to have an enormous -- Look, one of the things we didn't know is what the Taliban would do in terms of trying to keep people from getting out. What they would do? What are they doing now? They're cooperating, letting American citizens get out, American personnel get out, embassies get out, et cetera, but they're having -- we're having some more difficulty having those who helped us when we were in there."
The Taliban has swiftly taken over Afghanistan and the U.S. is currently scrambling to evacuate American citizens and others.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said during a press briefing Wednesday that the speed of the collapse of the Afghan army and government had not been anticipated.
"There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army and this government in 11 days," Milley said.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that a "fair amount" of U.S. defense materials supplied to Afghanistan have fallen into the Taliban's hands.
Republicans have been heavily critical of the Biden administration, saying that the U.S. withdraw has been badly bungled.
GOP Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana said in a video statement on Tuesday that Biden "oughta hide his head in a bag."
Nikki Haley, a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN who served during a portion of the Trump administration, declared during a Tuesday interview on Fox News that Biden "failed miserably" and "humiliated America."
"Joe Biden and Kamala Harris' response and lack of planning in Afghanistan has been catastrophic," Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted on Wednesday. "After the immediate crisis is over and they've gotten all Americans out of Afghanistan, we should get answers for the American people."