Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden must “forget” about the deadline for evacuation efforts in Afghanistan and continue helping move people out of the country after the end of the month.
“The president needs to forget about the August 31st deadline,” McConnell said in an interview on Fox News. “We need to send enough American personnel, military personnel to rescue our people, and by the way, there are more American soldiers there now than before the president made the decision to leave. Extend the deadline. Get outside the perimeter, make sure that every single American who wants to leave is able to get out with our assistance, and our Afghan allies.”
McConnell added: “The Taliban should not be allowed to tell us how long we are there to get our personnel out. That’s our decision, not theirs.”
Democrats have also expressed doubts that the U.S. can complete evacuation efforts before the deadline.
“I think it’s possible, but I think it’s very unlikely given the number of Americans who still need to be evacuated, the number of [Special Immigrant Visa holders], the number of others who are members of the Afghan press, civil society leaders, women leaders,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday evening.
McConnell on Tuesday described the withdrawal from Afghanistan as “a stain on our reputation” that “is considerably worse than the fall of Saigon” in 1975.
“This is one of the greatest foreign policy disasters in American history,” McConnell said. “I think it’s important to remember where we were a few months ago before the president’s reckless decision to leave. We only had 2,500 troops there. We had lots of single American personnel, military personnel in a year. The Taliban, the barbarians were not in charge of the country. We were keeping the lid on and al-Qaida was not there.
“So the decision to pull out was a gargantuan mistake, in my opinion,” he continued. “Having made that decision, you’d have to conclude these guys couldn’t organize a two-car funeral. I mean, here’s where we are.”