The catastrophe unfolding in Afghanistan will undoubtedly go down as one of the most shameful foreign policy disasters in American history, and the responsibility for this debacle falls squarely on President Joe Biden.
In April, when President Biden announced – against the advice of senior military leaders – that he planned to pull all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, his Administration assured the American people that his withdrawal would be “responsible, deliberate and safe.”
Three weeks later, the Taliban launched a major offensive that quickly pushed back Afghan government forces. Still, on July 8, President Biden dismissed the Taliban and claimed that “the likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.”
It is an indisputable fact that Joe Biden terribly mismanaged his withdrawal from Afghanistan. Furthermore, it is painfully obvious that he made no preparations in case he had miscalculated. The consequences for his folly are devastating and deadly.
Thousands of Americans remain stranded in Afghanistan. Our foreign allies face brutal retribution from the Taliban. The heartbreaking images of Afghans falling from the sky after clinging desperately to planes leaving Kabul will be forever etched into our memory. Billions of dollars in U.S. military equipment is now in the Taliban’s hands, including helicopters, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft guns, artillery, and even combat aircraft. Across the globe, our partners and allies are questioning whether they can truly rely on America’s promises. There’s no doubt that we will be feeling the aftershocks from the fall of Afghanistan for years to come.
Contrary to the pitiful claims of senior Biden Administration officials, this outcome was not inevitable. While I believe that maintaining a small U.S. presence in Afghanistan was necessary for our national security, I also believe it was possible to withdraw without causing an unmitigated disaster.
Last year, President Donald Trump negotiated a conditions-based drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. In other words, American troops would leave only so long as the Taliban held to their end of the deal.
President Biden has pointed to this agreement to claim that he had inherited this withdrawal from his predecessor and suggest that Donald Trump is to blame. What else is new? This is a sad attempt to spin the narrative and duck responsibility.
First, the Taliban has continuously violated the conditions of this agreement, thereby making it null and void. Second, Biden has made no effort whatsoever to hold the Taliban accountable for breaking the deal. Third, considering how Biden has reversed and overturned Trump policies and agreements across the board on nearly every issue, it is simply preposterous to argue that this one single agreement (which the enemy has habitually broken) cannot be changed.
This is Joe Biden’s debacle.
In talking with many of you, especially those veterans who served in Afghanistan and their loved ones, I know there is a huge demand for answers and accountability. The nearly 2,500 American service members killed and over 20,000 wounded through 20 years of war demand the truth.
How did the White House so woefully miscalculate the Taliban’s offensive capability? Did U.S. intelligence predict that the Afghan government and military would collapse so quickly? Why didn’t the evacuation begin before the Taliban entered Kabul?
Most importantly, exactly how many American citizens remain in Afghanistan and what is the Biden Administration doing to get them home safely? We also have thousands of Afghan allies who desperately need our protection, and it is imperative that we fulfill our promises to keep them safe. We must get these folks out of Afghanistan now.
Keep in mind, this isn’t over yet. Several thousand U.S. military personnel have been ordered into Afghanistan to contain the chaos and assist with the evacuation.
Please join me in praying for them and for all who remain in Afghanistan.
U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro, represents Georgia’s 10th Congressional District, which includes a portion of Newton County, in the U.S. House.