Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says President Joe Biden should be impeached for pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, even though Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had agreed to the withdrawal.
“I think Joe Biden deserves to be impeached because he’s abandoned thousands of Afghans who fought with us and he’s going to abandon some American citizens because he capitulated to the Taliban to a 31 August deadline,” Graham said in a Tuesday appearance on far-right broadcaster Newsmax.
But Trump, who the U.S. senator from South Carolina often praised, had negotiated a deal with the Taliban, the fundamentalist Muslim group controlling much of Afghanistan, to withdraw the remaining 13,000 American troops by May 1 of this year. Biden began the pullout that date and plans to have all military members out by the end of August. Graham said Trump had placed conditions on the withdrawal but that Biden is carrying it out no matter what's happening in the country.
The Taliban has recently gained strength and taken over territory, including the capital city of Kabul, leading to fears the group will use its power to oppress women, LGBTQ+ people, and basically anyone with different beliefs. The Afghan military has put up little resistance to the Taliban, and President Ashraf Ghani has left the nation. The situation in Afghanistan has become chaotic, with Americans and their Afghan allies jamming planes to flee the country, and tens of thousands of them have now been evacuated.
The U.S. first sent troops into Afghanistan shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, seeking the members of al Qaeda who had engineered the attacks and the Taliban adherents who had aided them. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011 in neighboring Pakistan. But Afghanistan remained unstable.
“The U.S. military has spent 20 years in Afghanistan, starting with President George W. Bush in 2001 and ending three presidents later with Joe Biden,” USA Today notes. “Each leader has dealt with the ongoing conflict in his own way, but all were unable to peacefully resolve America's longest war.”
"What’s unfolding in Afghanistan is the culmination of decades of foreign policy," Laura Blasey writes in the Los Angeles Times. "It’s many decisions — some effective, others not — compounded over years. For now, the fallout of a lost war and an international tragedy of this scale begs for context. When the dust finally settles, there will be plenty of blame to go around."