Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, released a statement critical of President Joe Biden’s address regarding Afghanistan. Rogers said that the president failed to articulate a plan for the future of Afghanistan.
“Today, President Biden again failed to present a plan for the future of Afghanistan,” Biden said. “Nowhere in his speech did the President address how to protect Americans that will remain in the country, nor did he address the Taliban’s deadly resurgence, and we are still waiting to hear how exactly Biden will help the Afghans that stood alongside our service members. Every time I’ve asked the Administration for their plan on any of these issues, I’m told ‘it’s coming’. That’s not good enough. These poor decisions, I’m afraid, will require our return to Afghanistan in the near future.”
“Speed is not ‘safety’ when it’s a rushed, politically expedient withdrawal to appease a liberal base – it’s a catalyst for failure,” Rogers said. “I worry about the potential for future terrorist attacks on American soil and I worry for the future for our Afghan allies.”
The U.S. and our NATO allies have hastily withdrawn most of its forces from Afghanistan under Biden. The Taliban, whom the U.S. has been fighting since late 2001, meanwhile are launching offensives against the Afghan National Security Forces all over the country as U.S. forces withdraw. Some of the Afghan security forces have fled to Tajikistan. Many of the interpreters who worked with the U.S. during the Afghanistan War have reportedly been murdered and others are trying to emigrate to the United States.
“Our military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31st,” Biden said. “The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of our troops as they depart. Our military commanders advised me that once I made the decision to end the war, we needed to move swiftly to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. And in this context, speed is safety. And thanks to the way in which we have managed our withdrawal, no one — no one U.S. forces or any forces have — have been lost. Conducting our drawdown differently would have certainly come with a increased risk of safety to our personnel.”
“The same is true of our NATO Allies and partners who have supported — we are supporting, and supporting us as well, as they conclude their retrograde,” Biden said. “I want to be clear: The U.S. military mission in Afghanistan continues through the end of August. We remain — we retain personnel and capacities in the country, and we maintain some authority — excuse me, the same authority under which we’ve been operating for some time.”
“As I said in April, the United States did what we went to do in Afghanistan: to get the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and to deliver justice to Osama Bin Laden, and to degrade the terrorist threat to keep Afghanistan from becoming a base from which attacks could be continued against the United States,” Biden said. “We achieved those objectives. That’s why we went. We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. And it’s the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”
“Together, with our NATO Allies and partners, we have trained and equipped over three hu- — nearly 300,000 current serving members of the military — of the Afghan National Security Force, and many beyond that who are no longer serving,” Biden said. “Add to that, hundreds of thousands more Afghan National Defense and Security Forces trained over the last two decades. We provided our Afghan partners with all the tools — let me emphasize: all the tools, training, and equipment of any modern military. We provided advanced weaponry. And we’re going to continue to provide funding and equipment. And we’ll ensure they have the capacity to maintain their air force.”
“When I made the decision to end the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, I judged that it was not in the national interest of the United States of America to continue fighting this war indefinitely,” Biden said. “I made the decision with clear eyes, and I am briefed daily on the battlefield updates.”
Biden blamed the Trump administration for leaving him with a mess in Afghanistan.
“Once the agreement was made by the last administration that we were going to leave by May 1st, it was very clear that a Taliban that had always been a problem was even a more sophisticated problem than they were than before,” Biden said. “Not more sophisticated than the ANSF, the government. More than they were. The point being that it would have increased the prospect that they would have been able to take more lives of Americans if they decided we weren’t going to go after them. That was the point I was making.”
The Afghanistan War, at over 19 years in length, is the longest war in American history.
Rogers is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.