‘Hospitable Terrain for Terrorists’: House Investigates Biden’s Withdrawal from Afghanistan
On Tuesday, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee held a hearing to further investigate the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the summer of 2021. Rep. Elijah Crane (R-Ariz.), who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, joined Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch” to further discuss the details of the hearing.
Earlier this month, the National Security Council released an assessment of the seemingly catastrophic withdrawal, but Perkins deemed the report inadequate, as “it merely whitewashed the administration’s failures” by placing blame on former president Donald Trump. The assessment went as far as to say that Biden was “severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor.” Crane confirmed a similar story being told in the hearing regarding the Biden administration’s deflection of blame. “There was no responsibility or accountability taken whatsoever,” he said.
“We learned from the vast majority of the witnesses … that it was a disastrous withdrawal,” Crane continued. “It seemed like even the Democrats’ own witness would agree with a lot of what we were saying as Republicans. … It just goes to show that regardless of whether we’re talking about the border, the economy, inflation, or this withdrawal from Afghanistan, [the Biden] administration continues to show no sign of taking any responsibility for the shape that this country is currently in.”
While the hearing existed to uncover some of the information the Biden administration might have buried, witnesses also spoke up about the direct impact that the vacancy of the U.S. in Afghanistan had on terrorism.
“The terrorist threat environment in Afghanistan has deteriorated dramatically since August 2021 — and it is getting worse,” founder and principal of Fillmore Global Strategies LLC Nathan Sales shared during his testimony. “Due to a combination of Taliban-provided safe haven, the Taliban’s lack of counterterrorism capability, and the absence of sustained counterterrorism pressure from the United States, Afghanistan has become hospitable terrain for a variety of terrorist groups.”
Not only did the Biden administration’s detrimental removal of troops provide more leeway to terrorist groups, it also hindered partnerships between the U.S. and other allied countries, according to Crane.
“The geopolitical chessboard is starting to shift around from countries that have worked with the United States for a very long time, [and are] actually starting to look towards other countries and abandon the United States,” he said.
Although the loss of allies on the American home front is startling, Crane posed yet another concern after observing the hearing — witnesses claimed that the biggest security threat Americans face is “domestic terrorism.” “When they say that … they’re talking about individuals wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats who are Trump supporters,” Crane said. “When I talk about terrorists, and when many of us that are serious about security talk about terrorists, we’re talking about people that will behead you or saw your head off on national television.”
At the end of the interview, Perkins posed a question: If America continues down this path and displays an inability to stand with its allies, does that put our country in a vulnerable position? To this Crane replied, “It absolutely [does]. And that problem is obviously compounded by the fact, Mr. Perkins, that we don’t have a southern border and everybody around the world knows it. Terrorist organizations know it.”