James Carafano, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy and E.W. Richardson fellow, released the following statement in response to the latest developments on the security crisis in Afghanistan:
This is a dark day for the United States of America. President Biden needed to publicly address the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has spiraled completely out of control. Unfortunately, his words today will do little to extinguish the roaring fire his administration has created—a fire already smoldering before the Biden administration dumped gasoline on it.
Good and reasonable people can debate whether the U.S. should have left 2,500 troops in Afghanistan to conduct counter-terrorism and intelligence-gathering operations. There can be no debate, however, that the tragedy of the past 72 hours will have a lasting impact on America’s national security, our alliances, and our credibility. Our enemies have been emboldened. There is now a heightened risk that al Qaeda and other terrorist groups will once again use Afghanistan to plan attacks on the U.S. and our allies. China, Russia, and others are already engaging with the Taliban as the legitimate government. And China is already using this opportunity to spread doubt about America’s commitment to other partners around the world.
It is unconscionable that the Biden administration accelerated this withdrawal without having plans in place to get all American citizens and allied Afghan partners who assisted American forces out of the country first. It is shocking that there was no contingency planning in place to respond to the worst-case scenario. And it’s unacceptable that the leader of the free world took days to face the American people and explain his decisions and those of his administration.
The United States must never be the world’s policeman. We should not be involved in the farcical notion of ‘nation-building’ via U.S. military power. American forces and assets should be deployed only when U.S. interests are at stake. Sadly, the Biden administration has chosen to sacrifice America’s national security interests in pursuit of a fleeting political win, a vainglorious attempt to secure the optics of a withdrawal before the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Ironically, because of this misguided pursuit, the Taliban will control more of Afghanistan than it did on that day 20 years ago.