Congress reacts to U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
UPDATED 7:45 PM PT – Thursday, April 15, 2021
U.S. forces are leaving Afghanistan after nearly 20 years and the move has drawn mixed emotions from military personnel to lawmakers. Additionally, the Biden administration’s chosen date of September 11 to pull troops is part of the debate.
“While he may see it as symbolic, I think it’s insulting to so many people,” Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) said. “So many veterans that fought there, so many loved ones that lost their relatives in 9/11.”
Furthermore, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) stated we should “keep the fight over there, in their backyard, not ours.”
Many Republicans — and some Democrats — said completely pulling boots off the ground could enable a resurgence of terrorism and put U.S. national security at risk. However, Democrat leadership sees it differently.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed the country could “not be better served than by [Joe Biden] making this decision at this time.”
For those looking forward to the Trump administration fulfilling the promise set under a peace deal it forged, Biden’s plan to bring troops home is welcome news, but others have insisted there are key differences in the current approach that are concerning.
“President Trump wanted out absolutely — we all do,” Waltz noted. “But he wanted to do it on our terms and only when the Taliban lived up to their agreement.”
Congressman Waltz, who is a retired Green Beret, explained that with troops leaving, the CIA and contact forces follow. He warned: “Ultimately, I do think the Afghan security forces may collapse. The government may collapse and if we have to go back in we’ll be doing so blind, without bases, without local partners.”
In response, the Biden State Department has tried to quell concerns.
Meanwhile, U.S. allies have announced, they too are starting to pull troops from Afghanistan.