Former defense secretary Leon Panetta said U.S. credibility is "in question" after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban amid the United States' troop withdrawal.
"[President Joe Biden] has just got to ensure that the United States of America remains a strong world leader that can work with our allies to try to protect peace and prosperity. That is the message he's got to give the American people and the world because our credibility right now is in question," Panetta, who also served as CIA director in the Obama administration, told CNN on Monday. "I strongly recommend to President Biden that he take responsibility and admit the mistakes that were made."
Panetta's comments come as U.S. forces struggle to evacuate Americans stranded in the capital city of Kabul, which the Taliban seized on Sunday. Biden has blamed the failed withdrawal on former president Donald Trump, saying his predecessor "left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001" and "drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500."
In July, Biden defended his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country by a Sept. 11 deadline, telling reporters that it was "highly unlikely" the militant group would overrun the country.
Biden vacationed at Camp David over the weekend but is expected to give a speech on the situation in Afghanistan Monday afternoon. Press Secretary Jen Psaki is "out of the office" this week, according to multiple media outlets that received automated messages from the White House spokeswoman.