Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Monday took aim at President Joe Biden for his role in the collapse of the Afghan government to the Taliban, asserting the president’s “disastrous display of incompetence” has “provoked a humanitarian crisis.”
Hawley criticized Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, asserting the decision, and the way it was rolled out, triggered a humanitarian crisis.
“He and his administration failed to adequately prepare, failed to safeguard Americans and those who have helped us, drastically underestimated the speed with which the Taliban would overrun Kabul and other parts of the country, and have generally shown themselves unable to fulfill their commitment to an orderly withdrawal,” Hawley said, concluding the advocates of nation-building now have “much” to answer for at this point.
“Those who advocated 20 years of nation building in Afghanistan and continually promised the American people that Afghan security forces would soon be able to defend themselves have much to answer for as well,” he said.
“For two decades, almost no one has leveled with the American people about the true state of affairs in Afghanistan,” he continued.
“President Biden’s incompetence and failure of leadership is only the latest failure from the Washington establishment in this long war in which so many Americans have honorably fought and died,” Hawley added. “All of them should answer to the public.”
Biden last addressed the deteriorating state of affairs in Afghanistan last Tuesday, telling reporters that he does not regret his decision to withdraw troops as multiple cities continued to fall to the Taliban.
“Look, we spent over a trillion dollars over 20 years. We trained and equipped with modern equipment over 300,000 Afghan forces. And Afghan leaders have to come together. We lost thousands — lost to death and injury — thousands of American personnel,” Biden said, adding, “They’ve got to fight for themselves, fight for their nation.”
“The United States — I’ll insist we continue to keep the commitments we made of providing close air support, making sure that their air force functions and is operable, — resupplying their forces with food and equipment, and paying all their salaries,” he said, adding that they have “got to want to fight.”
On Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) criticized Biden as well, agreeing with the withdrawal of troops but asserting the strategy and tactics were both “horrific and incompetent.” He also shared reports of Afghan forces, which the U.S. invested in, joining the Taliban and delivering U.S. weapons.
“The fundamental error was ever believing that the Afghan ‘government’ and ‘military’ would ever fight for or win anything. They fled the country with whatever they could steal at the first whiff of the Taliban,” Gaetz said.
Biden cut his vacation off early, returning to Washington, DC, from Camp David on Monday rather than Wednesday. He is expected to address the crisis at 3:45 p.m. Eastern.