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US governor slams 'hasty withdrawal' from Afghanistan, welcomes eligible refugees

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said his state is set to welcome at least 180 Afghans through its special immigrant visa program, and the Republican leader said he is "ready and willing" to take in more immigrants.

"The chaotic and heartbreaking scenes emerging from Afghanistan over the past several days - where innocent civilians have been running for their lives in fear of the Taliban - are the result of a hasty and irresponsible withdrawal," Hogan said in a video message.

"Many of these Afghan citizens - our allies - bravely risked their lives to provide invaluable support for many years to our efforts as translators and support team, and we have a moral obligation to help them," he added.

Hogan encouraged anyone who needs help, or knows someone, to immediately contact the state's Office of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

"I ask all Marylanders to continue to pray for the safety of every American and all of our allies who remain in peril," Hogan said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that she and other world leaders "underestimated" the Afghan government's ability to resist Taliban attacks.

"This is a very bitter development. Bitter, dramatic and terrifying. It is a terrible development for millions of Afghans who want a more liberal society," she said in a speech a while ago about the Taliban's takeover of Kabul, according to German television, "Deutsche Welle."

Merkel also noted that the miscalculation was "widespread", referring to incorrect calculations by other leaders, such as US President Joe Biden, about the Afghan government's ability to run the country.

The German chancellor said that the international community was wrong in its assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, and warned of dire consequences.