House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is calling for investigations into President Biden’s handling of the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the democratic government was toppled over the weekend by Taliban forces.
McCarthy, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, seems to forget that it was Trump himself who made the call to bring American troops home as a central part of his “America First” foreign policy and signed an agreement with the Taliban, basically handing over control of Afghanistan to the Islamic group.
However, now Joe Biden has followed the agreement and delivered on the promise, Republicans are criticizing Biden over the grim results that are unfolding in Afghanistan.
McCarthy told Punchbowl News late Sunday that Biden’s decision this year to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was a “mistake that will haunt us for decades,” and pointed to the president’s choice to highlight Sept. 11 of this year as a target date to have troops out of the region.
McCarthy said it was also a mistake to pull U.S. forces out “during the summer, when [the Taliban is] at their height.”
He also indicated he wants investigations probing what the American and allied intelligence community knew in the weeks and months leading up to the fall of the Afghan government.
Several other leading Republicans including, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Trump himself, have blasted Biden’s decision to follow through with a policy initiated by Trump.
Meanwhile, Biden announced that the U.S. would send 1,000 more troops to the country to assist with evacuating U.S. personnel, some of whom have reportedly been scrambling to leave the country as Taliban fighters take control of the city of Kabul.
“Over our country’s 20 years at war in Afghanistan, America has sent its finest young men and women, invested nearly $1 trillion dollars, trained over 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, equipped them with state-of-the-art military equipment, and maintained their air force as part of the longest war in US history,” Biden said Saturday in a statement announcing the move. “One more year, or five more years, of US military presence would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country. And an endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”
The White House has separately shifted blame for the collapse of the Afghan government to former President Trump, with Biden saying the previous administration left the Taliban “in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”
McCarthy was reportedly one of only two Republicans who spoke out during a briefing on Sunday with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley.
“How does the rest of the world look at us?” the minority leader told Punchbowl. “They like that the president doesn’t tweet, but they don’t think America is very tough.”