James Carafano, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and E.W. Richardson Fellow, andLuke Coffey, director of Heritage’s Allison Center for Foreign Policy, and Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, released the following statement Friday in response to the latest update from the Biden administration on the crisis in Afghanistan:
“This crisis is completely of the Biden administration’s own making. Due to the Biden administration’s missteps and foolish decisions, our national security interests, and the very safety of our own citizens, are now being held hostage to the whims of the terrorist group that harbored al-Qaeda. Going forward, the Biden administration needs to do three things if it wants to begin to undo the damage it has already caused, and prevent things from getting worse:
“First, getting every single American home safe must be the top priority. Nothing is more important. The president must make it unequivocally clear to the Taliban that the U.S. will not tolerate actions by the Taliban to prevent Americans citizens from getting to the Kabul airport, and that similar actions toward Afghans with Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) are also unacceptable.
“Second, the Biden administration must officially forge an agreement with a regional partner to add another option to the U.S. military’s air bridge. Right now, Doha is the first stop for U.S. flights after leaving Kabul. There is a capacity limit. The U.S. needs another location, likely in Central Asia, that it can use to ensure there is no bottleneck in Doha that prevents flights from Kabul continuing without interruption. There are reports of such agreements with Germany, Bahrain, and the UAE. This is welcome news.
“Third, the Biden administration must start engaging with regional countries including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and India on the future stability of the broader Central Asian region. Without U.S. boots on the ground in Afghanistan, the U.S. will need to find other ways to keep an eye on the region. ‘Over the horizon’ is great Washington-speak, but functionally empty. This diplomacy needs to start now.”