McCaul: Biden will ‘own’ the ‘ugly images’ from Afghanistan withdrawal
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Sunday said President Biden is “going to own” the “ugly images” resulting from the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
“When we fully withdraw, the devastation and the killings and women, humanitarian crisis, fleeing across the border into Pakistan, President Biden is going to own these ugly images,” McCaul said during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Biden in April said the U.S. would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The withdrawal effort passed the halfway point last month, with the U.S. flying out approximately 500 loads of material via cargo aircraft and giving almost 13,000 pieces of equipment to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction, according to the U.S. Central Command. The process is on track to be completed this month.
New analysis from the U.S. intelligence community last month, however, found that Afghanistan’s government could collapse as quickly as six months after all U.S. troops are pulled from the country.
The top U.S. general in charge of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan said last week that he believes the security situation in the country is “not good,” as American service members leave Afghan forces to defend from the Taliban alone.
Approximately 650 U.S. troops, however, are now expected to remain in Afghanistan to provide security at the U.S. Embassy once American troops are pulled from the country.
McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, responded to the new intelligence on Sunday, calling it “quite frightening.”
He also said he is “concerned” that the decision to completely withdraw from the region is “not going to have a good ending to it.”
“But at some point, our vital interests are ISIS and al Qaeda, and we are going to give them a safe haven as the Taliban takes over that nation and that vacuum is going to be filled by terrorists. And I’m concerned that we will be going back,” McCaul added, when asked if he is worried that the U.S. may be forced to redeploy troops to Afghanistan.
The congressman said he is specifically taking issue with the “lack of planning and preparation” for the withdrawal.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” he said, adding that aides to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told him last week that 2021 would be “the year of the jihad.”