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Rep. Waltz: Pulling Troops From Afghanistan on 9-11 Is 'Insult'

Rep. Waltz: Pulling Troops From Afghanistan on 9-11 Is 'Insult'
Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By    |   Thursday, 15 April 2021 03:21 PM

Rep. Michael Waltz, a Green Beret who commanded special forces in Afghanistan, said Thursday that President Joe Biden's plans to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks are an "insult."

"First of all, doing it on 9/11 is just an insult to so many of us that served and frankly to the families" to have a "Saigon moment" on that day to realize that their efforts have failed, the Florida Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "I just think that it is a bone-headed idea."

Waltz said he's also worried that the withdrawal will create another situation like was faced when former President Barack Obama pulled troops out of Iraq.

"When he just yanked everyone out, ISIS came roaring back," said Waltz. "We had attacks all over Europe, the United States, and a caliphate the size of Indiana. American citizens in orange jumpsuits were getting beheaded. The intelligence community is clear that that is what will happen with Al Qaeda and possibly ISIS too in Afghanistan."

But there is still a difference this time around, and it will be "so much worse," said Waltz.

"You have a lot of bases in the Middle East around Iraq that we could launch back in from," said Waltz. "In Afghanistan, you (still) have China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan. You don't have a lot of options there. You don't have any options to really go back in,"

Further, China is a threat to the United States, and Afghanistan is the "only country in the world where we have a base bordering China," said Waltz. "It's on the southern flank of Russia, and the eastern flank of Iran. Why would we just give that territory up? This really makes absolutely no sense. You know, we need to leave a small presence behind that can continue to keep the pressure on, let's fight over there. And let's continue to train and equip and get the Afghan army to a better place so that one day we truly can leave."

Further, when the U.S. troops are removed, the support for contractors will also go, affecting 20,000 people, and NATO is also planning to pull its troops, said Waltz.

"Most importantly, the CIA and our intelligence presence are going to go as well, so we will be in many ways blind," said Waltz. "Biden's CIA chief all but admitted that yesterday in a hearing. We'll be blind, we won't have an Afghan army there, and the government will likely collapse under the pressure of the Taliban. And then we will have to fight our way back in."

Waltz said it is "incredibly, incredibly frustrating and disturbing to me," but if just a small presence was left there, like the military had argued with Obama about Iraq, then all that could be avoided. 

Also, pulling troops out on 9-11 is being done for "symbolic and political reasons" that don't make sense, said Waltz. 

"If the goal is to just bring a few thousand troops home, we didn't have any casualties in Afghanistan last year, and we had six the year before," said Waltz. "We lost more in Navy training accidents around the world than we did in Afghanistan. So if you want to bring a few thousand troops home, we still have 50,000 in Japan, 30,000 in Germany. We still have some in the Sinai watching ships go by. There are other places if you want to reduce our footprint around the world that's not sitting on half the world's terrorist organizations."

The withdrawal is also a "huge propaganda victory for the Taliban," said Waltz. 

"We have to fight forward," he said. "This war against slack extremism is just like the war against Communism or fascism. It's going to take a long time, unfortunately, but we have to fight it in places like Kandahar and Kabul, not in places like Kansas City, where is exactly where Al Qaeda wants to fight. They want to fight this in America's backyard. I want to fight it in their backyard. But one way or another, pulling a few thousand troops out doesn't make the war against slack extremism end and it certainly isn't going to stop their attacks."

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Politics
Rep. Michael Waltz, a Green Beret who commanded special forces in Afghanistan, said Thursday that President Joe Biden's plans to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks are an "insult." "First of all, doing it on 9/11 is just an insult...
waltz, troops, afghanistan, 9, 11
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2021-21-15
Thursday, 15 April 2021 03:21 PM
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