Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Fox News Tuesday President Biden’s hasty withdrawal strategy has left as many as 15,000 Americans outside Kabul with limited transportation resources to reach the Hamid Karzai International Airport, where the U.S. military has been sent to help with the evacuation effort.
McConnell told “Special Report” that he never would have left Afghanistan, especially not the way the Biden administration has. The Kentucky lawmaker said only 1% of the Pentagon’s budget was being directed toward Afghan operations, which were successfully “keep[ing] the lid on in Afghanistan.”
“We hadn’t lost a single American soldier in combat in the last year,” he said. “It was working. It was working because we went there, we went there to prevent Al Qaeda from being back in full operational mode under the Taliban and to sort of keep the lid on.”
“My guess is we’re going to end up spending way more trying to evacuate people with this slipshod operation.”
The Senate Minority leader called the situation an “embarrassment” and a “stain” on America’s reputation.
Of the reported thousands of Americans and aligned individuals trapped in the now-Taliban-controlled country, McConnell said he worries about those outside the Afghan capital.
“They’re up to 15,000 Americans stranded out in the country who presumably have to beg the Taliban to let them get to the airport,” he said. “Not to mention the interpreters who worked with us, and other Afghans who are in danger because they cooperated with us. All of this is the aftermath of the decision first to withdrawal, and to withdrawal in a precipitous and incompetent way.”
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McConnell said the Taliban sees the withdrawal as a military defeat of the United States of America.
“It’s an utter embarrassment. Our allies won’t trust us,” he said. “This was an incredibly incompetent step. And I’m going to say previous presidents have wanted to leave Afghanistan as well, but, in the end, they didn’t because we knew we had the lid on.
“We knew we had held Al-Qaeda down. And that’s the most we could have hoped for in Afghanistan. Nobody thought we were going to create a Jeffersonian, Western-style democracy there.”