The Taliban has already taken over most of Afghanistan because President Joe Biden "basically capitulated" to the insurgents, Rep. Guy Reschenthaler said on Newsmax Friday.
"Joe Biden owns this," the Pennsylvania Republican, a veteran who served in Iraq as part of the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) in Iraq, said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "It's absolutely alarming how quickly this is happening, and it's happening this quickly because Joe Biden basically capitulated, he surrendered to the Taliban ... we should never have had an unconditional retreat from Afghanistan."
Taliban fighters Friday captured Kandahar and Herat, Afghanistan's second and third largest cities, one day after Biden announced 3,000 U.S. troops would be sent into the country to remove American diplomats and others out of the country.
"We also should never have given up the Bagram Air Base," Reschenthaler told Newsmax. "That's our ability to provide our Afghan allies with air support to help fight back agains the Taliban. That is our base to do Intel operations and provide Intel to our allies there."
But without that base and at least some U.S. troops in Afghanistan, it is hard for the allied troops to fight back against the Taliban, said the congressman.
"This puts us right back where we were in the 1990s and early 2000s," said Reschenthaler. "The Taliban, Al Qaeda, and now, unfortunately, ISIS will use Afghanistan to train, to harbor terrorists, and to increase their hold on the region."
He added that it was a strategic blunder to give up the airbase.
"Our ability to project power abroad is in large part due to our ability to have bases all over the globe when we are in Afghanistan, granted with a small amount of military troops," said Reschenthaler. "With Bagram, we were able to get intel and to project power. We were able to help contain China and at least in western China ... the last time I checked, we're still in Korea, we're still in Japan, we're still in Germany, we're still in Cuba."
The resulting chaos is "reminiscent of the fall of Saigon," and that will not "end well for Afghanistan," said Reschenthaler. "It's a sad day for the United States, certainly our troops in particular Afghanistan and our allies there."
He recalled that the rise of the Taliban "ultimately led up to what we're going to be honoring one month from now, and that's the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks."
Reschenthaler continued that Biden would not have to be sending the 3,000 U.S. troops back into Afghanistan if he hadn't pulled the military out to begin with.
"This is what happens when America retreats when we sit down, we create a power vacuum and that power vacuum is often filled by nefarious actors," said Reschenthaler "We quickly have to go back in because we had the Taliban taking over large swaths of the country. Had we just stayed there and supported our allies on the ground. The Taliban would not have been able to take hold, at least not to the extent that they are now."
The Taliban will also be in a better position to maintain control of Afghanistan because they will likely do a "loose partnership with the Chinese in exchange for reducing terrorist attacks in western China," said Reschenthaler. "The Chinese will provide them with infrastructure in terms of technology, and they'll be able to use the data they collect to crack down upon those that are seeking freedom in Afghanistan."
China also wants Afghanistan's "treasure trove" of rare Earth elements needed to make "everything from a laptop or cellphone to a fighter jet, to an electronic vehicle," said Reschenthaler. "We ceded now to China's sphere of influence."
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