Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday predicted the Taliban would take control of Afghanistan “as early as the end of the year” if the Biden Administration completes its plan to withdraw all troops by September 11th, 2021.
Speaking to reporters in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell described the withdrawal as a “grave mistake” that will “leave coalition partners and vulnerable Afghans high and dry.”
Others predict withdrawal will facilitate the resurgence of Al-Qaeda and reverse civil rights progress made by women and minorities.
“I believe it is a mistake to completely pull out,” continues McConnell. “I think some presence there for counterterrorism and training purposes is in America’s best interest.”
The fighting in Afghanistan has slowed considerably over the past year, though Taliban officials have threatened a return to violence now that the May 1st deadline for troop withdrawal has passed.
The deadline was established in a historic treaty signed by the Taliban, Afghan government, and Trump Administration in February 2020. The deal outlined a conditions-based and phased US troop withdrawal dependent on the commencement of peaceful negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government.
“Ultimately, it will be up to the people of Afghanistan to work out their future,” said then-President Donald Trump. “We, therefore, urge the Afghan people to seize this opportunity for peace and a new future for their country.”
At the time, Trump warned that US troops would return to Afghanistan with force if “bad things happen.”