Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ripped President Joe Biden on Sunday, saying his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan will have disastrous consequences.
Biden this month announced his decision to pull the remaining 2,500 troops from war-torn nation by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in the U.S.
“Well, it’s been made, and I know it’s a very difficult decision. This is what we call a ‘wicked problem,’” Clinton said on CNN. “You know there are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving.”
Clinton said that “huge consequences” could include the Taliban — once weakened but growing in strength again — returning to take control of Afghanistan. That would then cause a “huge refugee outflow,” and “a resumption of activities by global terrorist groups,” said Clinton, who lost to former President Donald Trump in 2016.
“The potential collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban probably with a resumption of civil war in certain parts of the country,” she said. “But a largely, Taliban-run government at some point in the not-too-distant future.”
Clinton said she thinks Biden should open the U.S. to refugees from the nation.
“I hope that the administration in concert with the Congress will have a very large visa program and will begin immediately to try to provide that channel for so many Afghans to utilize so that they are not left in danger.”
Clinton also said terrorists groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State could surge upon the U.S. withdrawal.
“We’ve seen a really sharp drop in both capacity and action on behalf of Islamic terrorist groups,” Clinton said. “I don’t think we can count on that staying in a downward spiral if the Taliban continued to provide refuge to international terrorist groups.”
And she said the U.S. should not just “walk away” from the country.
“It’s one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting security in Afghanistan, supporting the Afghan military, leaving it pretty much to fend for itself,” she said, “but we can’t afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS’ “60 Minutes” that the U.S. is not abandoning Afghanistan.
“Just because our troops are coming home doesn’t mean we’re leaving,” he said. “We’re not. Our embassy’s staying, the support that we’re giving to Afghanistan when it comes to — economic support, development, humanitarian, that — that remains. And not only from us, from partners and allies.”
After Biden’s announcement, former President George W. Bush warned the decision could hurt women and girls if the “brutal” Taliban returns to power.
“My first reaction was, wow, these girls are going to have real trouble with the Taliban,” Bush said on NBC’s “Today.” “A lot of gains have been made, and so I’m deeply concerned about the plight of women and girls in that country.”
“I think the administration hopes that the girls are going be OK through diplomacy. We’ll find out. All I know is the Taliban, when they had the run of the place, they were brutal,” Bush said.
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