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Lawmakers react to President Biden's planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Tom Cole
Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 20:57:23-04

TULSA, Okla. — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday his plan to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"I’ve concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war," Biden said. "It’s time for American troops to come home.”

Biden said that he would start withdrawing troops on May 1, which was the initial deadline to completely withdraw troops after the Trump administration arranged a deal with the Taliban.

“When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban that all U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just three months after my inauguration,” Biden said.

U.S. allies, such as NATO and operational partners, will also withdraw from the country by Sept. 11, according to Biden.

In a statement, Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, said he disagreed with pulling troops out of the Middle Eastern country.

Keeping the Taliban out of power and preventing Afghanistan from being used as a platform for attacks against America remain key U.S. objectives. We have been able to do so in recent years with a relatively modest commitment of U.S. forces bolstered by thousands of troops contributed by our NATO allies. Removing those forces and risking a Taliban take-over of the country is a huge mistake.

Cole continued, "This policy decision by the Biden Administration is bad enough, but linking it to a date our terrorist enemies still celebrate – 9/11 – hands them a propaganda victory that will reverberate throughout the Middle East. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan under current conditions will be seen as a sign of American weakness rather than strength. It will ultimately lead to more attacks on Americans around the world."

The congressman added, "American involvement in Afghanistan began with a congressional authorization in 2001. If President Biden wants to end it, he should request congressional approval. Doing so would require those Members of Congress supporting this ill-advised decision to take responsibility for the disaster that is likely to follow."

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), ranking member of House Armed Services Committee, released a joint statement urging Biden to change course on Afghanistan.

“We once again urge President Biden to reconsider his political, calendar-based approach to withdrawing from Afghanistan. The United States entered Afghanistan as a result of 9/11, and it is irresponsible to leave when conditions on the ground would lead to a civil war in Afghanistan and allow the country to become a safe haven for terrorists once again,” Inhofe and Rogers said. “The Annual Threat Assessment, prepared by the Biden administration and which was released publicly just last week, is unequivocal: ‘The Taliban is likely to make gains on the battlefield, and the Afghan Government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.’"

“Republicans and Democrats came together to work with the previous Administration on a different approach to Syria when a full drawdown was considered in 2019, for exactly the same reason: the best way to protect American families at home is to defeat the terrorists overseas. We hope we can come together once again to do the same on the approach to Afghanistan. Finally, we are eager to hear from the commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Miller, about current conditions in Afghanistan and expect him to testify before our committees later this month.”

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