Rapid Collapse of Afghanistan an ‘Unforced Error’

Yesterday in Austin, I addressed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. I said the following at an event at Camp Swift Training Center:

This was a huge error on the part of our national leadership, starting with the President of the United States. To number one, signal the date that we would leave so the Taliban would know when they would be able to have free reign all the way to Kabul, but to provide no transitional support for our Afghan partners? This was an unforced error, and it is a painful lesson that we’ve learned that what happens in Afghanistan does not stay in Afghanistan.

One of the lessons I thought we’d learned 20 years ago after 9/11 was that if you leave ungoverned spaces or power vacuums, that terrorism will be bred, and there’s no question that al-Qaida, and ISIS, and other terrorist organizations will use this as an opportunity to reconstitute themselves and be a threat not only in the region, but to the American homeland. Unfortunately what we’re seeing now, I think, is an unforced error.

One of the other tragic parts of this is the men and women, the Afghan interpreters, the other support that we’ve seen, people who worked with us in Afghanistan for the last 20 years have been literally stranded and left to be slaughtered by the Taliban. We did have a plan for special interest visas, to bring more of those Afghans here to the United States, to provide them an opportunity as refugees to come here and to save their lives and the lives of their families.

Unfortunately because of this precipitous fall of Kabul and Afghanistan, a lot of those Afghan interpreters and partners who’ve worked with us in good faith over the years believing that we would take care of them or protect them and their families are going to be killed, and that, again, is another part of this terrible tragedy.


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