NC lawmakers react to Afghanistan situation

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WWAY) — Political leaders are reacting to President Joe Biden’s speech in which he acknowledged the “gut-wrenching” images coming out of Afghanistan after the swift Taliban takeover of the government.

President Biden acknowledged Monday that “the truth is this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” but did not admit any U.S. fault in how the drawdown was executed.  Instead, the president spent much of the speech defending his overall decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

Former President Donald Trump said, “It’s not that we left Afghanistan. It’s the grossly incompetent way we left!”

Both senators from North Carolina have also released statements about the situation in Afghanistan following President Biden’s speech.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement:

“President Biden created a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, and he is now deflecting responsibility and not being honest with the nation. He is banking on the hope that the American people won’t care and that the media will move on. 

“The American people will care that President Biden was repeatedly warned by military leaders that his arbitrary and inflexible withdrawal would be an unmitigated disaster and he ignored them.

“The American people will care that President Biden’s reckless abandonment paves the path for the reconstitution of al-Qaeda and other terrorists in Afghanistan, who will once again try to target and murder Americans. As noted by our top generals, it’s a matter of when, not if.

“The American people will care that the Biden administration had seven months to formulate a plan to safely evacuate Americans and Afghan refugees, and failed to do so.

“President Biden isn’t being honest when he deflects all responsibility and claims his hands were tied by President Trump. Biden certainly wasn’t complaining about tied hands earlier this year when he was boasting about withdrawing all U.S. forces. I had serious concerns with the previous administration’s repeated intentions to withdraw, but I also understood we could not stay in Afghanistan forever. There is also a right way and a wrong way to withdraw. Biden chose the wrong way, setting his own arbitrary deadline and having no plan in place to ensure our withdrawal would be safe, orderly, and based on conditions on the ground.

“American citizens and our Afghan allies are now stranded and feel abandoned by the American government. Some of our Afghan friends have already been executed by the Taliban. The Biden administration needs to be moving heaven and earth to ensure that we leave no American behind and keep our promise to provide refuge to the brave Afghans who assisted our troops.

“Every President makes mistakes, and this is a grave one. But the testament of a good leader is to acknowledge their mistake and work to correct it. President Biden instead chose to hide when things got tough, and then deflected all responsibility after he was shamed into finally addressing the nation after a week of silence.

“The American people, especially the brave Americans who fought in Afghanistan, deserve real answers and better leadership from the President.”

Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) also issued a statement which reads:

“I disagreed with President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, concerned that this Administration, like the last, had not fully considered the consequences. It was my hope, however, that in exercising his right as Commander-in-Chief, the President would present Congress and the American people with a plan.

“It is now abundantly clear there was no plan.

“Determined to follow an arbitrary timeline based on messaging rather than military priorities, this Administration’s callous negligence directly contributed to this catastrophic failure. In fact, the only person who seems to believe this situation couldn’t have been prevented is the President who bears responsibility for it.

“President Biden wanted to see U.S. forces leave Afghanistan before September 11th. On his watch, we left our allies to fend for themselves, left a growing humanitarian crisis, left our credibility in tatters, and left our promises broken. What we won’t be able to leave behind is the inherent shame of abandoning those who have helped us.”

WWAY spoke with Congressman David Rouzer (R-7th District) on Monday about his thoughts on Afghanistan.

Rouzer said he didn’t believe it was a good idea to have a gradual withdrawal of troops to begin with, but he believes that even those who disagree on that would agree that the strategy has been mishandled.

“I think everything has really, everything that could possibly go wrong with this has gone wrong and I’m not real confident about what’s going to happen in the next few days,” Rouzer said.

Rouzer said it’s a tragedy on multiple fronts, as a national security crisis for the U.S. because of the Taliban’s ties with Iran, China and Russia and also as a humanitarian crisis.

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