McConnell demands Biden commit to sending more troops back to Afghanistan
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is urging President Biden to commit to sending more troops back into Afghanistan past the Aug. 31 deadline the administration imposed on withdrawing troops.
McConnell called Biden’s Afghanistan policy “reckless” and said that if the administration does not move to send additional troops to back up Afghanistan forces, the U.S. embassy in Kabul could fall to insurgent groups.
“Here’s what should happen now. President Biden should immediately commit to providing more support to Afghan forces, starting with close air support beyond August 31st. Without it, al Qaeda and the Taliban may celebrate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning down our Embassy in Kabul,” McConnell said in a statement Thursday.
“Unless President Biden adjusts course quickly, the Taliban is on track to secure a significant military victory. The latest news of a further drawdown at our Embassy and a hasty deployment of military forces seem like preparations for the fall of Kabul. President Biden’s decisions have us hurtling toward an even worse sequel to the humiliating fall of Saigon in 1975,” McConnell said.
On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the Pentagon would deploy military personnel to the international airport in Kabul to help withdraw embassy staff.
The Pentagon is deploying 3,000 U.S. troops who were already in the Middle East to go to Kabul within the next day or two to “provide safety and secure movement of the reduction of civilian personnel out of the embassy,” according to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby.
Prior to the announcement, around 650 troops remained in the country to protect the Kabul airport and embassy. The announcement by the State Department and Pentagon indicates that the U.S. would have more or less the same number of troops that it started out with before Biden announced the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Though Kabul has not fallen to the Taliban yet, recent developments have made it clear that the country is seeing a wave of takeovers and major inroads being made in parts of Afghanistan, The Associated Press reported.
Kandahar and Herat, the two biggest cities after Kabul, were taken by the Taliban on Thursday — a worrying development for defense officials. Out of the country’s 34 provincial capital, 12 have already been taken, the wire service reported.