Republican lawmakers were on the offensive on Sunday, questioning why President Joe Biden hasn’t issued any public statements on Afghanistan essentially being captured by the Taliban terrorist group after it took Kabul.
“Why is Joe Biden in hiding? He should immediately address the nation and answer for the catastrophic situation in Afghanistan. Conference calls between cabinet secretaries and senators don’t cut it in a crisis,” wrote Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who served tours in Afghanistan in the U.S. Army, on Twitter.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that Biden is “gonna have blood on his hands” after the Taliban’s rapid takeover of the country, including Kabul, in only a few weeks. “They totally blew this one. They completely underestimated the strength of the Taliban,” said McCaul, the highest-ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an interview with ABC News, said that the United States accomplished its goal in Afghanistan, which was to dismantle al-Qaeda and take out leader Osama bin Laden, who were blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“The fact of the matter is this, we went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with one mission in mind, and that was to deal with the people who attacked on 9/11,” Blinken told the network. “And that mission has been successful. We brought Bin Laden to justice a decade ago. Al-Qaeda, the group that attacked us, has been vastly diminished. Its capacity to attack us again from Afghanistan has been … right now, does not exist.”
Several days ago, Biden issued a statement blaming former President Donald Trump, who had engaged with discussions with the Taliban on a possible deal.
“When I came to office, I inherited a deal cut by my predecessor—which he invited the Taliban to discuss at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 of 2019—that left the Taliban in the strongest position militarily since 2001 and imposed a May 1, 2021 deadline on US forces. Shortly before he left office, he also drew U.S. forces down to a bare minimum of 2,500,” the president said.
The White House’s Twitter account, meanwhile, posted a photo of Biden sitting at a table inside Camp David.
This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/U7IpK3Hyj8
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 15, 2021
His recent comment, however, came in contrast to his speech several weeks ago, asserting that the U.S. pullout of the country is not comparable to the 1975 fall of Saigon that ended the Vietnam War and produced a number of enduring images of American embassy staff hastily leaving on helicopters.
Even several Democrat lawmakers criticized the Biden administration for how it handled the withdrawal. Biden weeks earlier announced that American forces would unconditionally depart the South Asian country after spending 20 years and trillions of dollars on the conflict.
“As a Gold Star son of the Vietnam War listening to the White House briefing on the Afghanistan War withdrawal, my heart particularly aches for the thousands of Gold Star families of an eerily similar and painful episode forty-six years later,” wrote Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), referring to the fall of Saigon that capped the end of the Vietnam War.
Added another Democrat, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas): “There’s no way to hide it. The situation in Afghanistan is another shame on this admin. Withdrawal was never going to be easy but it didn’t need to come to this.” He wrote, “The US must do everything in its power to help our partners & allies to safety & protect our national security.”
Retired Gen. David Petraeus, the former U.S. commander of Afghanistan, issued a blistering statement, arguing that the pullout and Taliban takeover is “an enormous national security setback” that will “get much worse.”
“In this case, the results cannot be sugar-coated… there was a saying that we occasionally used for really bad days and I said, ‘Look if it’s a really bad day in Baghdad or Kabul, just go out to the podium and say we had a terrible day.’ Don’t put lipstick on a pig. It undermines your credibility,” he added.
On Sunday, video footage broadcast live by Al Jazeera TV showed Taliban leaders entering the Afghan presidential palace. It came as the group wrote in a statement that it directed its members to enter Kabul. There was also footage of the Taliban entering the U.S. Embassy building.
Top Afghan government officials also confirmed President Ashraf Ghani had fled the country just hours before, while American citizens in Kabul were asked to shelter in place amid reports that the airport was under fire. Ghani later confirmed his departure, saying he did so to prevent bloodshed.
“I came across a hard choice; I should stand to face the armed Taliban who wanted to enter the palace or leave the dear country that I dedicated my life to protecting … the past 20 years,” he said in the message posted on social media.
On Monday, the United Nations Security Council is slated to hold an emergency meeting on the security situation.