Joe Biden’s administration faces criticism from both sides of the aisle over its mismanaged U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Republicans and Democrats criticized the president for letting the Taliban seize control of Kabul much sooner than expected.
Biden had intended to end a two decades-long armed conflict in the Middle Eastern country. However, this let Taliban militants take control of the presidential palace and declare a new “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”
Neither the president nor vice president made any public announcements about the fall of Afghanistan at the time of publication. This caused several lawmakers and political analysts to question the pair’s leadership.
The White House confirmed Biden and Kamala Harris met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the drawdown of U.S. civilian personnel in Afghanistan, and the security situation in Kabul on Aug. 16.
This morning, the President and Vice President met with their national security team and senior officials to hear updates on the draw down of our civilian personnel in Afghanistan, evacuations of SIV applicants and other Afghan allies, and the ongoing security situation in Kabul. pic.twitter.com/U7IpK3Hyj8— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 15, 2021
The GOP wants to know why Biden has not spoken yet.
“Where is the president of the United States?” House Republicans said on Twitter.
Where is the President of the United States?— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) August 15, 2021
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) accused the Biden administration of botching the exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
“[It was a] shameful failure of American leadership,” he said on Twitter. “The United States had the capacity to avoid this disaster.”
The Biden Administration’s botched exit from Afghanistan including the frantic evacuation of Americans and vulnerable Afghans from Kabul is a shameful failure of American leadership. The United States had the capacity to avoid this disaster. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/p4wyuWxoHq— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) August 15, 2021
Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) completely agreed with McConnell that the fall of Afghanistan could have been avoided.
“The time to debate whether we stay in Afghanistan has passed but there is still time to debate how we manage our retreat,” he said on Twitter. “For months, I have been calling on the administration to evacuate our allies immediately–not to wait for paperwork, for shaky agreements with third countries, or for time to make it look more ‘orderly.'”
“The fact that, at this hour, we have not even secured the civilian half of the Kabul Airport is [a] testament to our moral and operational failure,” he added.
My statement on Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/2RHzKxOv4H— Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) August 15, 2021
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) revealed her heart bleeds for asylum seekers struggling to leave Afghanistan. Murphy expressed disappointment about how the United States departed.
“I also worked at the Department of Defense, I know what a planned drawdown looks like,” she said according to Politico. “I know what an orderly departure looks like, [and] I am disappointed that this is the way in which we are withdrawing.”
University College London global politics associate professor Brian Klaas believes the Biden administration was clearly blindsided and unprepared for the speed of Afghanistan’s collapse.
“Even Biden allies will not try to claim this as a job well done, or say this is what they had planned,” he said according to the publication. “After all, nobody would have planned for a last-minute evacuation that was just thrown together out of necessity.”