National security adviser Jake Sullivan says he "can't make any guarantees" that terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and ISIS won't see a resurgence once U.S. forces are withdrawn from Afghanistan in the coming months.
"Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says that we're opening the door for the Taliban to come back and raising the possibility that so will terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda," Wallace said, playing a clip of McConnell arguing that Biden's decision was "gift-wrapping" the country for terrorists.
"I can't make any guarantees about what will happen inside the country. No one can," Sullivan said.
"All the United States could do is provide the Afghan security forces, the Afghan government, and the Afghan people resources and capabilities, training and equipping their forces, providing assistance to their government,” he added. “We have done that and now it is time for American troops to come home and the Afghan people to step up to defend their own country."
While insisting that the Biden administration will not be sending troops back to Afghanistan, Sullivan said the Pentagon wouldn't be taking its "eye off the ball."
“We have the capacity, from repositioning our capabilities over the horizon, to continue to suppress the terrorist threat in Afghanistan," Sullivan said.
Biden’s decision to withdraw the remaining troops has drawn a mixed reaction on Capitol Hill and from security experts.
McConnell (R-Ky.) called it a big mistake and “a retreat in the face of an enemy,” while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said it was “dumber than dirt and devilishly dangerous.”
William Burns, the recently confirmed director of the CIA, told lawmakers last week, on the same day Biden announced the withdrawal plans, that "there is a significant risk once the U.S. military and the coalition militaries withdraw."
“The U.S. government’s ability to collect and act on threats will diminish. That's simply a fact," he said, cautioning that al-Qaida and ISIS in Afghanistan “remain intent on recovering the ability to attack U.S. targets, whether it's in the region, in the West, or ultimately in the homeland.”
Some Democrats have also criticized the plan.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) argued the decision could embolden the Taliban to destabilize the country.
Other Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), applauded the move.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an interview on ABC on April 18, defended the withdrawal, saying that shifting priorities and a dispersed terrorist threat justify the pullout.
The notion of a more dispersed threat landscape was echoed by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, who told lawmakers last week that the danger posed by Afghanistan has been eclipsed by threats from countries such as China, which she called an “unparalleled priority.”
"It's time for American troops to come home."