President Joe Biden is expected to formally announce on Wednesday that the U.S. will withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, multiple outlets are reporting Tuesday, citing U.S. officials. This prompted a fiery retort from Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), who called it “a disaster in the making” and “dumber than dirt”.
The move will bring the almost two-decade war, America’s longest, to an end by the date of the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which prompted the initial invasion of Afghanistan.
The decision was reported earlier on Tuesday by The Washington Post.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the decision will revise a Trump administration plan for a withdrawal by May 1 of this year. Former President Donald Trump was especially vocal about ending this war and other “forever wars”.
The U.S. is coordinating the withdrawal of its roughly 3,500 troops with NATO allies, which now contribute the bulk of forces to the conflict with its own 6,500 troops, officials said, according to The Journal.
Biden concluded that al Qaeda and associated groups no longer pose a threat to the U.S. homeland and that keeping U.S. forces in Afghanistan is no longer necessary, officials said, according to the newspaper. Officials also said that the withdrawal by September 11 is a hard deadline and not a target based on conditions on the ground, as opposed to other drawdown plans.
Notably, U.S. forces will instead be scattered across South and Central Asia, according to The Journal. This, according to the newspaper, could let the U.S. to maintain a military presence in the surrounding region and allow it to monitor Afghanistan all while ending the conflict.
Sen. Graham was particularly upset by reports of the decision, and said in a Tuesday statement that a “full withdrawal from Afghanistan is so irresponsible, it makes the Biden Administration policies at the border look sound,” also accusing Biden of, “in essence,” canceling “an insurance policy against another 9/11.”
“A residual counterterrorism force would be an insurance policy against the rise of radical Islam in Afghanistan that could pave the way for another attack against our homeland or our allies,” Graham argued.
“I hope our military advised against this withdrawal because I know what is most likely to happen: a reigniting of the Afghan Civil War and reversing all gains for Afghan women and children,” the senator continued. “The void created by this fight benefits ISIS and al Qaeda, who still reside in Afghanistan.”
“I think it is insane to withdraw at this time given the conditions that exist on the ground in Afghanistan,” Graham also said. “I know people are frustrated, but wars don’t end because you’re frustrated. Wars end when the threat is eliminated.”
“President Trump kept a residual force, but he did set a hard withdrawal date, which I thought was very bad, ill-conceived policy.”
“Now we have, on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the complete withdrawal in spite of all the intelligence assessments, Graham continued. “I find it ironic that, given the sacrifices we’ve made to move Afghanistan forward, prevent another 9/11, and ensure the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS, that on the 20th anniversary of the attack we’re paving the way for another attack.”
“All of America’s allies were willing to stay if we were willing to stay,” the senator concluded. “To announce a full withdrawal sends a signal of incredible weakness to adversaries like al Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, China, Russia, and Iran.”
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Scott Mann says botched Afghanistan withdrawal was a failure on the Afghan government
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Scott Mannn discussed the withdrawal from Afghanistan in depth on the latest episode of The Sara Carter Show. Mann claims that although it was a botched withdrawal, our service members did their best. Instead, the government is to blame for the failure.
“Our Vets led the way when the government failed,” Mann said. “They fought till the last bullet. They fought until the bitter end, even when their president and their generals took bribes and abandoned them.” Therefore, Mann is advocating for immediate visas to these Afghan Special Forces.
Meanwhile, families like Sara Carter’s have stepped up to help Afghans out of the country. “It was the veteran population, for the most part, and the military family population who looked at this and said: ‘Okay, fine, nobody else is coming. I’ll do it.’ And we picked up our cell phones. We started working together to find ways to try to guide and shepherd our Afghan friends to some kind of safety, if not freedom,” Mann said. “We need their help. People like you [Sara Carter] who’ve been on this problem from the very beginning. You know, you’re on a 911 dispatch call, and you’re the dispatcher. You’ve been on the call for a month, and you are the dispatcher that is assisting a family who is being murdered one by one. You’re staying on the line with them as this is occurring. You have no shift relief.”
So Mann is lobbying Congress to write a law, that any Afghan who went through the school of excellence as a commando Afghan Special Forces, should have an immediate visa.
You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.
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