Cheney: Afghanistan withdrawal a ‘huge propaganda victory’ for terrorists
President Biden’s decision to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 is a “huge propaganda victory” for the Taliban and al Qaeda, House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) said Wednesday.
“Any withdrawal of forces based on a political timeline … any withdrawal of forces that is not based on conditions on the ground puts American security at risk,” Cheney told reporters after a closed-door meeting of House Republicans.
“Now I’m not sure why the White House has selected [Sept. 11], but I can tell you that that is a huge victory, a huge propaganda victory for the Taliban, for al Qaeda,” she added. “The notion that on the day that they attacked us, we are going to mark that anniversary by withdrawing our forces?”
Biden is expected to make a formal announcement later Wednesday that he will pull all remaining 2,500 U.S. forces out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, exactly two decades after terrorists used commercial airliners to attack the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It is time for American troops to come home” from the nation’s longest war, Biden will say in his speech.
Cheney is an ardent defense hawk like her father, Dick Cheney, who was vice president under former President George W. Bush on 9/11. A former Defense secretary, Dick Cheney was also heavily involved in launching the war in Afghanistan that followed the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.
The younger Cheney, who heads up messaging efforts for House Republicans, argued that al Qaeda continues to operate across Afghanistan and that the Taliban has not lived up to commitments with the Trump administration last year, including a permanent cease-fire.
“We know that this kind of a pullback is reckless. It’s dangerous. It puts American security at risk, it will provide an opportunity for terrorists to be able to establish safe havens again,” she said.
Democrats of all stripes, meanwhile, seem to be lining up behind Biden’s effort to extract U.S. forces from Afghanistan after 20 years of war.
“Twenty years in, we can’t continue to do the same thing and expect that we’re going to get different results. It can’t be an endless war,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters Wednesday.
“I’ve been to Afghanistan; it’s a rough part of the world. This comes from someone who comes from a rough part of Brooklyn,” Jeffries added. “But, we can’t be the policemen for the world either. It’s not our job.”
Mike Lillis contributed.