Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sharply criticized President Biden's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday but offered no solutions for how to resolve the chaos that has ensued as the country fell to the Taliban.
“We shouldn't have made this decision in the first place. We only had 2,500 troops there, light touch, no chaos, not a single American soldier killed in a year in combat,” he told “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell on Wednesday.
“We've now left 10,000 to 15,000 American citizens behind enemy lines with no plan to get them to the airport to get out. And ironically, we have more troops in Afghanistan now trying to rescue our people than we had before this unbelievably bad decision to precipitously withdraw.”
Mr. Bidento withdraw troops from Afghanistan, though he has acknowledged that the Taliban takeover of the country happened more quickly than his administration expected.
In an interview with ABC News on Wednesday, Mr. Bidenhe didn't think the situation could have had a different outcome. “The idea that somehow, there's a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don't know how that happens,” he said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin alsoWednesday that evacuations of U.S. citizens and Afghan allies are not moving fast enough as thousands try to flee the country.
“The president should leave no American behind. I'll leave it up to him to figure out how to correct the mistake that he made,” McConnell said. “He took this enormous risk in order to pursue basically a poll-tested line that we've ended the longest war and we're bringing everybody home — a political decision that produced catastrophic consequences.”
As to whether former President Trump, who made the decision to withdraw troops by May 1, bears some of the responsibility, McConnell said he also told Mr. Trump the decision “should not be made.”
“President Biden didn't have to make this decision based upon what a previous president decided to do. He should have done the right thing for the country. This was entirely predictable,” he said. “Afghanistan will shortly return to exactly why we went there in the first place.”
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