The Taliban is much stronger than it was back in 2001 when the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan, and now it is "extremely emboldened" because of the "haphazard withdrawal" that has taken place in that country, Sen. Joni Ernst, a former military officer, told Newsmax Wednesday.
"They hold more territory than they did when American troops first went in in 2001, and they have gained strength," the Iowa Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
The chaos following the fall of Kabul this week, meanwhile, is falling "directly" on President Joe Biden's shoulders, she added, slamming him for referring to the war in Afghanistan as being a civil war.
"It is absolutely incorrect," said Ernst. "He's trying to change history. American troops were there to fight against the terrorists. It was a counterterrorism movement by the United States. He is trying to basically defame our American soldiers for their involvement in protecting the United States by saying that this is a civil war. He is absolutely incorrect, and I can't believe that he is doing this to our American troops who have served honorably for the past 20 years. He should be saying thank you to these men and women for protecting our homeland admirably."
Further, Biden's reckless actions are jeopardizing not only the Afghans who had helped the United States leave the country, but it's putting American citizens still there in danger.
"I also wonder about those Americans that are in the outlying provinces and how they will safely get to the airport. Or evacuation to the United States," said Ernst. "This is a debacle and it falls directly on Joe Biden's shoulders. This did not have to happen if only he had listened to the Intel community. If only he had listened to our military leaders, this would not have happened."
She also slammed Biden for setting a hard deadline of Aug. 31, to have people out of Afghanistan.
"Joe Biden, of all people, should know and understand that when you're communicating a hard deadline like that it is signaling to our enemies to our adversaries that this is the date," she said. "Beyond that, that they can do whatever they wish. The fact that the administration is not guaranteeing that we will get all of our American citizens out of the country is extremely disturbing. We should never leave an American behind."
There have also been reports coming out of Kabul that a woman was killed for not wearing a burqa, or face covering, and Ernst agreed that it is an insult that people would believe the Taliban's assurances that the country's new rulers will be inclusive of women's rights.
"The fact that our administration is relying upon the Taliban for safe passage of Americans and others to the airport, trusting that they will do the right thing by women and girls is absolutely absurd," Ernst said. "We did see those brutal images on the television. With a woman that was beaten to death for not covering herself appropriately. This is the new and improved Taliban. I hate to see what happens after Aug. 31, when Joe Biden has randomly pulled out all of our troops. What is going to happen to women and girls at that point again, just extremely disappointing, heartbreaking and we will have many, many other stories just like this coming out of Afghanistan."
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