Afghanistan

The president and his team have taken it on the chin for the past week. Now, amid a massive evacuation effort, they want kudos too.

A U.S. Air Force airman guides evacuees to board a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. | Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP

By NATASHA KORECKI

08/24/2021 09:19 PM EDT

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In the span of a week, the White House went from struggling to explain a rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan to beating its chest.

Top Biden officials and administration allies have begun aggressively touting the success of their evacuation efforts in the war-torn country, offering frequent updates on the number of evacuees. They’ve framed the operation as historic — in line with the Berlin airlift — declared that they’re “over performing” their own metrics, and trumpeted the president as “defying expectations.”

It’s a startling 180 from the defensive crouch Biden and his team occupied just days ago, one that reflects the sense of combativeness that has emerged in the West Wing as they sort through the first major, sustained crisis of the administration. And while it’s sparked accusations that the president’s team is trying to divert attention away from a crisis of its own creation, Biden’s defenders stress that, for now at least, he deserves to crow.

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