Kabul airport attacks: Biden admin cancels and delays press briefings, president’s public appearances

Rep. Banks on Kabul explosion: ISIS was waiting for a president like Biden

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., tells ‘The Faulkner Focus’ he is ‘heartbroken, angry’ about what’s unfolding in Afghanistan and argues the situation was ‘avoidable.’

The Biden administration delayed or canceled several press briefings and the White House canceled a planned meeting between President Biden and a group of governors Thursday after two explosions rocked the area around the Kabul airport and resulted in at least 10 dead U.S. Marines and several dead Afghans.

A meeting between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was also postponed until an undefined time Thursday. The Israeli delegation, however, headed back to its hotel so the meeting might happen later Thursday afternoon. 

The State Departmet press briefing was canceled. The Pentagon and White House press briefings were delayed indefinitely as well Thursday, as the Biden administration deals with what many were warning was a possible consequence of its Afghanistan withdrawal strategy. Many have compared the result of the strategy to the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam through Saigon. 

It is not clear when or if Biden will speak publicly about the attacks Thursday.

Smoke rises from explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The explosion went off outside Kabul’s airport, where thousands of people have flocked as they try to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Officials offered no casualty count, but a witness said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded Thursday. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)
(AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)

The White House, meanwhile, has pointed to tens of thousands of people evacuated in recent days as evidence of the success of the U.S. effort, despite the fact that the Afghan government swiftly collapsed under Taliban assault and that the Taliban is preventing many from getting to the airport. 

The White House says it will continue evacuation efforts, but a source briefed on the situation in Kabul said it is “[a]lmost a certainty that Americans will be left behind.”

The White House did say that Biden met with his national security team Thursday morning. Among those in attendance according to the White House were Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. 

The White House said Biden will receive updates as the situation changes through the day. Vice President Kamala Harris’ office also said she’s been briefed on the attacks and appeared in the Situation Room by video as she flew from Vietnam to Guam.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy, Kristina Biddle and Yonat Friling contributed to this report. 

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