Rep. Biggs: Failure to Withdraw from Afghanistan a ‘Slippery Slope’
Arizona Republican Congressman Andy Biggs warned President Biden that any delay in keeping the timetable to withdraw in Afghanistan could lead to what he called a “slippery slope.”
“I respectfully urge you to continue to remove United States service members from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, with the goal of ensuring all our brave men and women in uniform return from the theater before May,” Biggs wrote in a letter to Biden.
The U.S. agreed to withdraw all U.S. service men and women from Afghanistan in a deal with the Taliban by May 1 in return for peace talks and a cessation of violence. This would bring an end to America’s longest war, which began in response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently refused to say whether the U.S. would keep the May withdrawal deadline.
The Taliban is very likely prepared to resume its campaign of violence against the U.S. and coalition targets if it perceives that coalition forces have stalled or reversed course on the agreed-upon withdraw, according to the Afghanistan Study Group co-chairs who testified to the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security. They testified that U.S. troop levels may have to double their troop presence or more if the U.S. stays beyond May 1.
The calls to delay the withdrawal in order “to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result… is an all-too-familiar slippery slope,” wrote Biggs.
“The war in Afghanistan has already lasted nearly two decades. Over the course of that conflict, we have lost thousands of our brave warriors and spent trillions of dollars. Staying in Afghanistan any longer will only continue to place the lives of more servicemembers at risk,” said Biggs. “Furthermore, a continued United States presence in the region is unlikely to lessen the threat of terrorism; in fact, it is more likely to heighten the threat.”
Biggs praised Biden’s move to end U.S. support for Saudi-led operations in Yemen as part of an effort to end the conflict in the war-torn country.
“I hope that you will now turn your attention to putting a long-overdue end to America’s longest war,” he said. “I am very confident that an overwhelming majority of Americans across this country — including many mothers and fathers in Mesa, Arizona, and Scranton.”
Defense Secretary Austin said on Friday that “we are mindful of the looming deadlines, but we want to do this methodically and deliberately.”
“We’re focused on making sure that we make the right decisions, and we’ll go through this process deliberately.”
Austin added that the Taliban violence “must decrease” now for there to be progress in the negotiations.