McCarthy rips Biden’s Afghanistan strategy, calls for investigations
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is calling for investigations into President Biden’s handling of the crisis in Afghanistan, where the democratic government was toppled over the weekend by Taliban forces following the U.S. military withdrawal from the war-torn nation.
McCarthy told Punchbowl News late Sunday that Biden’s decision this year to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was a “mistake that will haunt us for decades” and pointed to the president’s choice to highlight Sept. 11 of this year as a target date to have troops out of the region.
It was also a mistake, McCarthy said, to pull U.S. forces out “during the summer, when [the Taliban is] at their height.”
The top House Republican indicated he wants investigations probing what the American and allied intelligence community knew in the weeks and months leading up to the fall of the Afghan government.
Several other leading Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and former President Trump, have blasted Biden’s policy decisions.
As the situation in Afghanistan worsened by the hour over the weekend, Biden announced that the U.S. would send 1,000 more troops to the country to assist with evacuating U.S. personnel, some of whom have reportedly been trapped as Taliban fighters take control of the city of Kabul.
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history,” Biden said Saturday in a statement announcing the move. “One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”
The White House has separately shifted blame for the collapse of the Afghan government to Trump, with Biden saying the previous administration left the Taliban “in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”
McCarthy, a Trump ally, was reportedly one of only two Republicans who spoke out during a briefing on Sunday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley.
“How does the rest of the world look at us?” the minority leader told Punchbowl. “They like that the president doesn’t tweet, but they don’t think America is very tough.”
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