Taliban conquered Afghanistan in days. Were the trillions of dollars spent and lives lost for nothing?

President Biden today justified the plan to pull U.S troops out of Afghanistan, even as the Taliban overruns the country. They seized Kabul this weekend, posing in Afghanistan’s presidential palace.

“I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces. That’s why we’re still there,” Biden said. “We were clear-eyed about the risks. We planned for every contingency. But I always promise the American people that I will be straight with you. The truth is this did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.”

The Taliban’s takeover prompted a chaotic evacuation of American personnel from the U.S. Embassy — echoes of the 1975 evacuation of Saigon. At Kabul’s airport, a frantic scene played out as Afghans climbed jetways and clung to the sides of U.S. military planes.

The situation is the culmination of a 20-year war that ends with the collapse of an American-backed government and an Afghan military that laid down weapons instead of fighting Taliban insurgents. Millions of Americans were stunned by how it all happened.