MITCHELL, S.D.(KMIT)- The Taliban continues to flex its muscles in Afghanistan by cracking down on protests and attempting to prevent citizens from leaving. Senator Mike Rounds says he does not agree with President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops.
Rounds says America’s presence in Afghanistan for twenty years was not in vain.
He says there was a better way for America to exit the situation.
Senator Rounds says the withdrawal makes the U.S. look less trustworthy on the world stage after alienating its allies.
KELOLAND News spoke with US Senator John Thune on Wednesday about the evacuation and current state of affairs in Afghanistan.
“It’s a mess right now and a colossal failure in terms of planning on behalf of the Biden administration,” said Thune about the situation. “It’s really unfortunate because you’ve got literally thousands upon thousands of Afghan women and children who are ultimately going to be slaughtered by the Taliban.”
Thune also lamented the fate of those who have assisted the American cause in Afghanistan, as well as the Americans still stuck in the country.
“I hope they can figure out a way to provide a secure, safe and stable transportation to get those people out of there,” he said.
In discussing what could have been done differently, Thune criticized the decision by the Biden administration to publicize their official withdrawal date as September 11. “The enemy just plans around it,” he said. “The Taliban is clearly doing that.”
Thune said he thinks the Biden administration should have begun withdrawing troops last spring, when the decision was made to end the occupation.
“They should have started to execute that evacuation at that point — get the Americans out of there,” he said.
Asked if the publicizing of a withdrawal date was a mistake made by both the Biden and the Trump administration, who originally announced a full withdrawal date of May 1, 2021, Thune said that there is a difference.
“The plan for getting people out of there has been obviously very different,” he said. “The Trump administration was talked out of — on multiple occasions — doing what the Biden administration is doing right now, and that is setting a date and then pulling people out of the country.”
Thune says he believes that keeping a small presence of troops in Afghanistan would have been favorable compared to a full withdrawal.
“I disagree with the decision in the first place,” Thune continued, “but if that decision once it’s made — you’ve gotta have a plan.”