- Sen. Mitt Romney blasted the Afghanistan policies of President Biden and former President Trump.
- On CNN, he called the current situation in Afghanistan “a humanitarian and foreign policy tragedy.”
- Romney said that it would be “a moral stain” to leave Afghan allies behind after the US withdrawal.
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Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday said that the current on-the-ground situation in Afghanistan is a consequence of policy failures made by President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Utah Republican told host Jake Tapper that the rush to withdraw Afghan allies and Americans was “preventable” and criticized past decisions by the two administrations when asked if US troops should remain in the country past the Aug. 31 deadline to aid with further evacuations.
“Leaving Americans behind and leaving our Afghan friends behind who’ve worked with us would put upon us and will put upon us a moral stain,” the senator said. “This did not have to happen. It was preventable. We didn’t have to be in this rush-rush circumstance with terrorists breathing down our neck.”
He emphasized: “But it’s really the responsibility of the prior administration and this administration that has caused this crisis to be upon us and has led to what without question a humanitarian and foreign policy tragedy.”
Romney, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, continued to focus on what he felt were serious missteps in the approaches taken by Biden and Trump, who both sought to wind down the war in Afghanistan.
-State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 29, 2021
“If you focus on what we should do right now, recognize we’re in the position we’re in right now is because of terrible decisions made by two administrations,” he said. “One, the Trump administration negotiating directly with the Taliban, getting ready to invite them to Camp David, opening up a prison of 5,000 Taliban and probably ISIS-K individuals and letting them free. We don’t know whether some of them were involved in the attack that occurred.”
He added: “These were the decisions that led to what you’re seeing and the danger that exists at the airport. This should not have happened.”
The Thursday terrorist attack near the Kabul airport that killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members marked the deadliest day for US military members in the country since 2011.
Romney was also critical of Biden’s decision to close Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, which was once the largest US military base in the country but has since fallen to the Taliban.
The key facility was abandoned by the US ahead of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Romney went on to say that the fight against terrorism will continue, even with troops out of the country.
“You can’t, as one party, end a war,” he said. “It takes two parties to end a war. The Taliban and the radical violent jihadists in the world haven’t stopped fighting. They’re going to continue to fight us. The war is not over.”
While Romney focused on Biden and Trump in his criticism, the handling of the war was also overseen by former President George W. Bush, who first deployed US troops to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, along with former President Barack Obama, who sent 30,000 additional troops to the country in late 2009.