Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) says he is concerned the Taliban will not fulfill their obligations under the 2020 deal with the Trump administration.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, Menendez said, “I’m very concerned about the viability of the peace process in Afghanistan,” noting he believes the Taliban are “clearly not abiding” by the May 1 deadline when U.S forces must leave Afghanistan under the deal the Trump administration made with the Taliban.
“If the Taliban are confirmed as not meeting their commitments, which I personally believe they’re not, then we may have to reconsider the May 1 deadline,” Menendez said.
This comes after Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed a “senior-level” meeting “in the coming weeks” to strategize on the situation.
The beginning months of the Biden administration point towards the continuance of a foreign policy reminiscent of former Presidents Bush and Obama.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) is another senator who favors an extension of the May 1 deadline. “To pull out within several months now is a very challenging and destabilizing effort,” Reed said in a George Washington University video conference. “I would expect some extension,” even if the withdrawal occurred past the deadline.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) told CNN, “I think Afghanistan can be very important. I hope that the Biden administration I can work with them on this and talk to Secretary Blinken and the national security adviser about leaving a residual force there to protect the homeland and not allow the Taliban to take over their country.”
Director-general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Babar Iftikhar, believes “Afghanistan now is not what it was in the 90s and the state infrastructure cannot be trounced easily, and Pakistan also has changed.” Iftikhar added, “It’s impossible for the Taliban to recapture Kabul and that Pakistan would support them. It isn’t going to happen”.
During a speech at Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) said, “in order for us to ensure that terrorists can’t establish safe havens from which they could attack us again, we’ve got to have sufficient resources … to work with local entities and be able to deny safe havens to terrorists.”
Over $2 billion U.S. tax dollars have been wasted in Afghanistan on unused and deteriorating assets, according to the watchdog U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.