Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday again blasted the US’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan as “one of the worst foreign policy decisions in American history” — saying it will only leave terrorists “emboldened and excited” going forward.
“This is one of the worst foreign policy decisions in American history,” the Kentucky Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.” “Much worse than Saigon because after we left Saigon, there weren’t Vietnamese terrorists who were planning on attacking us here at home.”
The senator added, “You know, just because we decide to quit fighting doesn’t mean the terrorists go away. So they’re still out there. They’re invigorated. They’re emboldened and excited about the success they see in bringing America to its knees in Afghanistan.”
In recent weeks, the Taliban took over Afghanistan as President Biden began pulling military forces out of the country after a 20-year war.
Biden has vowed to stick to the deadline Tuesday, despite the ongoing chaos, including an ISIS-K suicide attack last week that left 13 US service members and hundreds of Afghans dead outside the airport in Kabul.
McConnell — who has been among the many vocal critics of Biden’s plan to remove US troops and diplomats from Afghanistan by Sept 1. — warned that America now has little “leverage” to evacuate its citizens and others in harm’s way from the war-torn country.
“Remember, the Taliban love taking hostages,” the senator told host Chris Wallace. “They’ve done this before. It puts us in an extraordinarily difficult position.”
“We don’t have sort of friends in the neighborhood that would provide us the kind of intelligence that we would normally get, for example, in Syria or in Africa or in Yemen,” he added. “So it’s going to be extremely difficult. We have very, very little leverage to extract additional Americans or Afghan allies from this landlocked country.”
The Republican called the Taliban “barbarians” and predicted that the militant group would be enabled by a “sympathetic” the Pakistani government.
“These are barbarians who certainly are not motivated by what others may think of them, and they’ve got the neighboring countries that have actually been sympathetic to them,” he explained.
“The Pakistan government has always been somewhat sympathetic to them. So they’ve got kind of a friendly neighbor as well. So we have little or no leverage to get our people out or our allies.”