Lindsey Graham blasts Joe Biden's Afghan troop withdrawal plan: 'He's paving way for another 9/11'
The veteran GOP senator, who slammed former president Donald Trump over his Syria pull-out in 2019, said the current president's foreign policy moves have been incompetent and destabilizing
The Afghanistan question has remained a burning one for successive US presidents since George W Bush and incumbent President Joe Biden is not different. The Democrat has pledged to give Washington’s Afghanistan policy a new direction by pulling out all its troops out of the violence-ravaged Asian nation by September 11 this year, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the dreadful terror attacks that saw America launching a military attack against Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. The war has continued since (it will complete 20 years in October this year) and successive US administrations have struggled to see an end to it. More than 2,300 US troops have died in the conflict in Afghanistan all these years while several have been injured on both sides and trillions of money have been spent.
However, Biden’s pledge has failed to convince the Republicans. Senior GOP Senator Lindsey Graham on Tuesday, April 13, said on Fox News show ‘Hannity’ that the Democratic president was “paving the way for another 9/11” with his idea to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan.
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“Joe Biden has become an incredibly destabilizing American president. He took a border that was pretty calm and turned it into chaos. The Mideast had been transformed under Donald Trump’s watch with the Arabs working with the Israelis and had Iran in a box. He has taken Iran and led them out of the box. They are talking about enriching uranium at 60% now which is a direct threat to the existence of the state of Israel. The Russians are challenging him in Ukraine. Now he is withdrawing forces in Afghanistan against sound military advice,” the veteran South Carolina lawmaker said.
“To all of you listening, who remember where you were at on 9/11/2001. Our military told President Biden that if you withdraw all of our forces, al-Qaeda and ISIS will come roaring back. Afghanistan would disintegrate into civil war. And you can avoid all of that by having three to 5,000 American forces making sure that ISIS and al-Qaeda never come back to hurt us. He rejected that advice. Afghanistan is going to deteriorate pretty rapidly, al-Qaeda and ISIS are going to come back,” the 65-year-old told host Sean Hannity.
'Joe Biden foreign policy incompetent and destabilizing'
Accusing Biden of paving way for another 9/11, Graham said: “I think Joe Biden on foreign policy has been completely incompetent and destabilizing. What he’s done with the Iranians is a threat to everything we’ve accomplished in the Mideast. I just hope and pray that I’m wrong. But I knew what was going to happen in Iraq and Afghanistan is going to be worse.”
Graham was also critical of former president Donald Trump after the latter decided to withdraw US troops from northern Syria in October 2019 that left allies Kurds alienated and at the mercy of regional player Turkey and the IS. Graham, who has strongly backed Trump in recent years, called the former president’s decision “impulsive, shortsighted and irresponsible”.
Biden’s Afghanistan plan has come under criticism from former officials of both the Trump and Barack Obama administration of which the current president was a part. Lisa Curtis, a former White House senior director for South and Central Asia in times of Trump and now with the Center for a New American Security, feared the decision is likely to end in a disaster. “Everyone wants to believe the Taliban has changed, but it is wishful thinking,” she was quoted as saying by Times. “I can almost hear the eruptions of joy from al-Qaeda from my home in Herndon, Va.”
David Sedney, a top official in the Pentagon in times of Obama who now works at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, has even described the decision as “strategically stupid, a humanitarian disaster and morally reprehensible”.