Hillary Clinton warns of “huge consequences” of Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan
Hillary Clinton has warned that the US will suffer “massive consequences” from President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
The former Secretary of State first publicly expressed her disapproval in an interview with CNN on Sunday when violence broke out immediately after the US formally began withdrawing 2,500 troops and turning control over to the Afghan government.
Asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria what she thought of the withdrawal decision, Clinton said, ‘Well, it was made. And I know it is a very difficult decision.
This is what we call a bad problem. You know that there are both foreseeable and unintended consequences of staying and leaving. The president has decided to leave. ‘
Clinton said the US should be prepared for “two massive consequences” – a collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover by the Taliban, and a subsequent flood of refugees.
Her comments to CNN came two days later Axios reported that both she and Condoleezza Rice, who served as Secretary of State under George W. Bush, had expressed concerns about the withdrawal to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Hillary Clinton warned in an interview with CNN on Sunday that the US will have ‘massive consequences’ over President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan (photo)
Clinton’s warning came a day after the US formally transferred control of Camp Antonik in southern Helmand province to Afghan forces on Saturday (photo)
Clinton explained the two consequences she foresaw to CNN, saying: “ One, the possible collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, likely with a resumption of civil war in certain parts of the country, but largely a governance at some point in the not-too-distant future.
How do we help and protect the many, many thousands of Afghans who worked with the United States and NATO, who worked with US and other NATO-associated contractors who stood up and stood up for women’s rights and human rights.
“I hope the government will have a very large visa program in consultation with Congress and immediately begin to try to provide that channel that so many Afghans can use so that they are not endangered.
‘I fear there will also be a huge outflow of refugees. And of course, the second big set of problems revolves around the resumption of activities by global terrorist groups, notably Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. ‘
She concluded, “ It’s one thing to withdraw troops who have supported security in Afghanistan and backed the Afghan military, pretty much leave it to their own devices, but we can’t afford to run away from the consequences of that. decision. ‘
Clinton’s fears already seemed to be fulfilled when the Afghan Ministry of Defense reported on Sunday that fighting between his forces and the Taliban had killed more than 100 insurgents within 24 hours of the US officially beginning its withdrawal.
The ministry’s report came after the US transferred control of Antonik camp in southern Helmand province to Afghan forces with a ceremonial changing of flags flying over the base.
Officials did not say how many Afghan soldiers were injured in clashes with the Taliban in various provinces.
A US soldier and a soldier from the Afghan National Army shake hands during a handover ceremony at Camp Antonik in Helmand Province on Saturday
American soldiers take down the American flag at Camp Antonik during a handover ceremony
On Friday – a day before the withdrawal began – Clinton and Rice appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee via Zoom to voice their concerns, sources familiar with the meeting told Axios.
“A little disagreement about Afghanistan, but they both agreed that somehow we need to sustain a counterterrorism mission outside of that country,” a committee member told the outlet.
Condoleezza Rice (pictured) joined Clinton last week to voice concerns about Afghanistan’s withdrawal at a meeting of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
They quoted Rice as saying, “You know, we’ll probably have to go back [to Afghanistan]. ‘
House Representative Mike McCaul, a Texas Republican, also told Axios, “With the potential for an Islamic State, coupled with what they are going to do with our contractors in Yemen and Afghanistan, things will unfortunately become tragic there. and we see it all coming. ‘
Another member of the committee said Clinton and Rice were concerned about what would happen to US diplomats on the ground following a troop withdrawal.
On April 14, Biden said he will withdraw the remaining US forces from Afghanistan’s “ perpetual war ”, stating that the September 11 terrorist attacks of 20 years ago will not destroy the US forces still dying in the country’s longest war. can justify.
His plan is to withdraw all US troops – now 2,500 in number – by this year’s anniversary of the attacks, which were coordinated from Afghanistan.
Biden announced on April 14 that he would remove all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11 this year – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Biden’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, admitted on Tuesday that a civil war or a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is “certainly a possible scenario” if the US withdraws all its forces from the country by 9/11.
Blinken told CNN’s Jake Tapper that the Biden administration is “ making plans for every scenario ” that could result from the move.
But he insisted that the US “will not withdraw from Afghanistan” and will remain “deeply involved” in supporting the country long after the troops leave.
Shortly after Biden made his announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels that the alliance had agreed to the withdrawal of the roughly 7,000 armed forces from Afghanistan, in line with Biden’s decision to begin a permanent withdrawal on May 1.
The US cannot continue to deploy resources in a persistent war and expect different results, Biden said.
The withdrawal was set to begin rather than end on May 1, which was the deadline for full withdrawal under a peace deal that the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year.
“It’s time to end America’s longest war,” Biden said, but added that the US “won’t rush to the exit.”
“ We cannot continue the cycle of expanding or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan in hopes of creating the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, pending another outcome, ” said Biden, speaking from the White’s Treaty Chamber. House, the same location where Bush announced the start of the war.
“I am now the fourth president of the United States to chair the presence of a US force in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not transfer this responsibility to a fifth. ‘
Biden’s announcement, which he followed with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, marks arguably the most important foreign policy decision early in his presidency.
He has long been skeptical of the US presence in Afghanistan.
As Obama’s vice president, Biden was a lone voice in the administration advising the 44th president to lean towards a smaller role in the country’s counter-terrorism, while military advisers pushed for troop build-up to counter Taliban acquisitions. .
As Secretary of State in the Obama administration, Clinton was more aggressive than both Obama and Biden.
In 2009, she supported a wave of 30,000 US troops into Afghanistan to counter the Taliban’s gains in the country.
Clinton was also a staunch supporter of regime change in Libya.
Rice was the chief foreign policy adviser to Bush, the architect of America’s “war on terror” following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
After the attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.
Biden has also made it clear that he wants to rethink US foreign policy to face the greater challenges posed by China and Russia.
Withdrawal of all US troops carries obvious risks.
It could spur the Taliban’s efforts to regain power and undo the achievements towards democracy and women’s rights over the past two decades.
It also opens Biden to criticism, mostly from Republicans and some Democrats, even though former President Donald Trump had also wanted a full withdrawal.
“This administration has decided to give up US efforts in Afghanistan that have helped to contain radical Islamic terrorism,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
“And strangely enough, they decided to do that on September 11th.”
While Biden’s decision keeps US forces in Afghanistan for four months longer than initially planned, it puts an end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 US troops, wounded 20,000 and cost as much as $ 1 trillion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (seen in the US Capitol on Wednesday) has admitted that a civil war or a Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is “certainly a possible scenario” if the US withdraws all its troops from the country before September 11.