Middle East/North Africa

GOP lawmaker: Afghanistan troop drawdown could raise odds of 9/11-style attack

Greg Nash

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) said Friday that a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan could increase the chances of a 9/11-style attack.

“We’re there to prevent another attack on American soil, like 9/11, and I’m more concerned than ever before that ISIS-K poses that type of threat,” Banks, who served in Afghanistan and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said on CNN.

ISIS-K refers to an arm of the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria that operates in Afghanistan’s Khorasan province.

{mosads}Multiple reports emerged Thursday that President Trump is considering a much smaller military presence in Afghanistan.

“I hope that’s not the case … when I went back last month it was clear that the threat in Afghanistan has evolved,” Banks said. “The rise of ISIS-K in Afghanistan poses a much more serious threat than what we’ve seen there in many years, maybe even since 9/11.”

“A pullout of Afghanistan today would be a concession of defeat, not just to the Taliban, but it would be turning over the country to ISIS-K, which poses a much more significant threat to the homeland,” he said.

ISIS-K poses a “much more complex, and serious threat to the homeland and to our allies as well. Now is not the time to pull back troops,” Banks added.

Banks’s arguments about the threat posed by a drawdown in Afghanistan closely resembled those of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Graham said a withdrawal would be a “high risk strategy” that could pave “the way toward a second 9/11.”

“Like in Syria, troop withdrawal should be based on conditions on the ground,” he said in a statement. “The conditions in Afghanistan — at the present moment — make American troop withdrawals a high risk strategy. If we continue on our present course we are setting in motion the loss of all our gains and paving the way toward a second 9/11.”

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham

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