Hillary Clinton criticizes Joe Biden's withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan: 'It'll have huge consequences'
'It's one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting security in Afghanistan, supporting the Afghan military, leaving it pretty much to fend for itself, but we can't afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision'
Hilary Clinton has criticized Joe Biden's latest decision to pull back troops from Afghanistan, calling it a "wicked problem" that might end up having "huge consequences" amid threats from the Taliban.
Clinton made the remarks during an appearance on CNN that aired on Sunday, May 2, just a day after US forces began withdrawing from the region under the president's formal directions. She voiced her opinions shortly after current Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended the President's decision, claiming that the White House is prepared should there come a 'worst-case scenario'.
'Two huge consequences'
Clinton feels that completely withdrawing forces will only give rise to problems. When asked what she thinks of Biden's decision, Clinton said "Well, it's been made. And I know it is a very difficult decision. This is what we call a wicked problem. You know there are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving. The president has made the decision to leave."
Clinton also claimed the US should be ready for "two huge consequences", the first being a collapse of the Afghan government due to Taliban takeover, which will subsequently lead to the second problem: an outpour of refugees. "It's one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting security in Afghanistan, supporting the Afghan military, leaving it pretty much to fend for itself, but we can't afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision," she said.
'White House prepared for every scenario'
In an appearance, Blinken was asked whether the Biden administration was prepared for the worst-case scenario, "where the US-backed government fails, and the Taliban takes over?" The secretary of state answered the white House has to "be prepared for every scenario — and there's a range of them." Blinken added "We are looking at this in a very clear-eyed way. But we've been engaged in Afghanistan for 20 years, and we sometimes forget why we went there in the first place, and that was to deal with the people who attacked us on 9/11."
Blinken seemingly believed that the US' job in the region was done and added "And we did. Just because our troops are coming home doesn't mean we're leaving. We're not." Blinken further pointed out that the US embassy would stay in Kabul along with "economic support, development, humanitarian" aid. "And not only from us, from partners and allies," he added.
'Biden paving the way for another 9/11'
Biden's decision to completely withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has been widely criticized. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham accused Biden of "paving the way" for another 9/11, commenting how terrorists across the globe were "on steroids" after Biden made the announcement two weeks ago. He added Biden is "setting Afghanistan on a path to deteriorate rather quickly and for the enemy, radical Islam, to reconstitute. It can all be avoided with a minimal commitment compared to the past." Graham said: "Every terrorist camp in the world is on steroids today because in their world they beat us. In their world, they drove us out."
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who served under former POTUS George Bush during the 9/11 attacks also told members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee how she's worried about Biden's latest decision and believes the US will most likely have to go back. "We had Secretaries Clinton and Condi Rice Zoom today with the committee," one participant of the call told Axios. "A little disagreement on Afghanistan, but they both agreed we're going to need to sustain a counterterrorism mission somehow outside of that country. Condi Rice is like, 'You know, we’re probably gonna have to go back,'" amid a potential terrorism surge, said the source.
#Clarification— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) May 1, 2021
As withdrawal of foreign forces from #Afghanistan by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.
Rice and Clinton were both in support of the military intervention in the Middle East after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Clinton's fears however played out in real-time as the Afghan defense clashed with Taliban forces just 24 hours after the US troops' withdrawal began. The incident left more than 100 insurgents dead, shortly after the US forces yielded control of Camp Antonik in South Helmand to Afghan forces via an exchange of flags. Taliban has also since threatened to attack the US after Biden postponed plans of complete withdrawal from May 1 to September 11.
With 2,500 US troops and another 7,000 from other NATO countries still remaining past the initial deadline, the Taliban tweeted to say the withdrawal agreement had been breached. "This violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces. The Mujahidin of IEA will now await what decision the leadership of Islamic Emirate takes in light of the sovereignty, values and higher interests of the country, and will then take action accordingly, Allah willing."
Announcing his US withdrawal plans on April 14, Biden had said "I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth. It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home." Claiming it was becoming increasingly unclear why troops were still lin Afghanistan, Biden had said they would be withdrawn "responsibly, deliberately, and safely." He had concluded: "War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multigenerational undertaking. We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives."