Kabul: In yet another criticism for US President Joe Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday said that it was “dangerous wishful thinking”, as it was not “not clear-eyed or strategic”.
He said there was a lack of “a coherent plan to mitigate the geopolitical and humanitarian risks” and “there is every reason to believe Al Qaeda will regroup in its historic safe haven”. McConnell voiced concern over the US military’s future ability to conduct counter-terrorism “reconnaissance and strike missions” without a presence in Afghanistan.
“If the Taliban takes Kabul, will the Biden administration recognize it as the legitimate government of Afghanistan?” he asked. “Will we shutter our embassy and our aid programs? The reality is, they don’t know. They can’t say. There is no plan,” he added.
Biden administration officials insisted last week that they were planning to ensure the US would be able to continue its battle against terrorism after withdrawing. David Helvey, assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific affairs, told Congress last Friday that the process was “ongoing”.
“We’re working to reposition our counter-terrorism capabilities, including by retaining assets in the region,” Helvey said. US Central Command said last week that the withdrawal was on schedule and that the military had completed up to 1/4th of the pullout.