GOP Lawmaker Cites Risk of Afghanistan Returning as Terror Haven
(Bloomberg) -- A senior Republican lawmaker expressed concern that Afghanistan might become a haven for terrorists again, requiring U.S. forces to reverse their withdrawal from the country.
“We are going to give them a safe haven as the Taliban takes over that nation,” Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who’s the GOP leader on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And that vacuum can be filled by terrorists, and I am concerned that we will be going back.”
U.S. forces last week handed over Bagram Air Base, their biggest facility, signaling the de-facto departure of combat forces from Afghanistan after 20 years. The U.S. had said it would have most troops out by Sept. 11, keeping a contingent of about 650 in the country to protect diplomats, though the Pentagon said the withdrawal could be completed by the end of August.
The Biden administration has asked Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to take in about 9,000 Afghans who assisted with the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, according to people familiar with the discussions.
”We told them we’d take care of them, and we can’t turn them back, then leave them to die,” McCaul said.
General Austin Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has described Taliban advances as a warning sign.
“The loss of terrain and the rapidity of that loss of terrain has to be concerning,” Miller said in an ABC News interview last week. “If you look at the security situation, it’s not good. The Afghans recognize it’s not good. The Taliban are on the move.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.