Veteran Congressmen on Afghanistan: ‘It’s heartbreaking’
President Biden shouldn’t have pulled troops from Afghanistan the way he did, Reps. Van Taylor and Seth Moulton, military veterans from opposing political parties, told Fox News, noting that the situation in the Central Asian country could still become worse.
Taylor, a Texas Republican, said Biden made a “tremendous mistake” and warned that Afghanistan could again become a terrorist breeding ground. Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Fox News that Biden should have delayed the withdrawal further and that evacuating the U.S. Afghan allies needs to be a top priority.
“There’s no question that what’s unfolding in Afghanistan at the moment is a terrible tragedy,” Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq as a Marine Corps infantry officer told Fox News. “For all of us who are veterans of the wars of 9/11, it’s heartbreaking to see.”
“This could get a lot worse before it gets better,” he continued.
Taylor, a decorated Iraq War veteran, said Biden has “clearly made a tremendous mistake. The consequences of that mistake are yet to be seen.”
“A lot of people, including myself, said this is probably going to be a mistake,” he told Fox News. Taylor said he warned that “the Taliban could take over.”
Biden “heard those concerns and dismissed them,” Taylor continued, saying that was “a disservice to the tremendous sacrifice our country has made.”
Moulton, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News: “I know that the Trump administration did no planning whatsoever, so the Biden administration was given nothing. But to me, that’s why they should have delayed the withdrawal even further … to give us more time, to get plans in place, to manage this more effectively.”
Taylor told Fox News: “The disaster that is Afghanistan today, the fault for that lies squarely with President Biden.”
“What’s incredibly frustrating about this is that all Biden had to do was nothing,” he continued. “If he had done nothing, we would be in a way better place than we are now.”
“As I understand it, we had virtually no casualties last year in Afghanistan,” he continued. “Things had stabilized.”
Moulton said U.S. officials need to be held accountable after the situation had settled, but that now is not the time to be “scoring partisan political points” against any presidential administrations.
“We need to get out all the Afghans who helped us, whose lives are at risk, who will be slaughtered by the Taliban if we leave them behind,” Moulton told Fox News, noting that the sentiment was a bipartisan consensus among veterans in Congress. “We need to stay in Kabul until that mission is complete.”
He said it could be debated later as to whether withdrawing troops was the right decision.
“What we need to do right now is make sure that the decision is executed well,” Moulton told Fox News.
“What we need to be focused on right now … is to save as many innocent lives as we can,” he continued. “That needs to be our focus. That needs to be the administration’s focus.”
Taylor told Fox News his concerns for the near future.
“In our national interest, the concern is Al Qaeda or ISIS or some other terrorist organization setting up terrorist training camps in Afghanistan the way that the Taliban allowed them to do that in the ’90s,” he said.
“I’m very concerned about the future safety of our country with a terrorist regime in Afghanistan now in charge again,” Taylor continued.
Fox News’ Matt Leach and Matt Wall contributed to this report.
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