Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said in an interview over that weekend that the Taliban takeover will translate into so great a terrorism threat that the U.S. military will be deployed again to Afghanistan.
“We will be going back into Afghanistan as we went back into Iraq and Syria,” Graham said.
Graham began his remarks by praising former President Donald Trump, who he said reversed the damage former President Barack Obama and now President Joe Biden have done to foreign policy and the U.S. military.
“[Trump] destroyed the caliphate,” Graham said, referring to the ISIS takeover of Syria. “It rose on Obama and Biden’s watch, and Trump sent the military in to destroy it.”
“When [Trump] left, there were 2.500 U.S. soldiers on the ground with NATO allies. They’re no longer there, he killed [Iranian General Qasem] Soleimani, which I think was a good thing,” Graham said. “He rebuilt the military in a fashion where we can be effective all over the globe.”
“The deterioration of the military during the Obama years was real,” Graham said:
So here’s my point, whether you like Trump or not, whether you believe it’s Trump’s fault or Biden’s fault, here’s where we’re at as a world. The Taliban are not reformed. They’re not new. They have a view of the world, out of sync with modern times. They’re going to impose a lifestyle on the Afghan people that I think is going to make us all sick to our stomach.
“But most importantly, they’re going to give safe haven to al Qaeda, who has ambitions to drive us out of the Middle East writ large and attack us because of our way of life,” Graham said. “We will be going back into Afghanistan as we went back into Iraq and Syria.”
“You seriously think the United States will once in the foreseeable future put troops back into Afghanistan,” the BBC’s Stephen Sackur asked Graham.
“We’ll have to because the threat will be so large,” Graham said.
“Why did we go back to Syria and Iraq? Why do we have 5,000 troops in Iraq today? Because of the caliphate rising, projecting force outside of Iraq. Killing Americans. Killing the French, attacking the British.”
“So yes, it will be a cauldron for radical Islamic behavior,” Graham said. “You cannot deal with this over the horizon.”
Graham said the U.S. should support the sliver of Afghanistan where Taliban resisters were stationed, but over the weekend the Panjshir Valley fell into Taliban hands making them effectively in charge of the whole country.
But Graham said he doesn’t believe the Taliban will succeed in their quest.
“The Taliban will not be able to govern Afghanistan,” Graham said. “They’re hated by the Afghan people.”
“What’s going to happen over time is you’re going to see the resistance rise. ISIS will come after the Taliban … and the entire country is going to fracture in the next year, creating a perfect storm for Western interests to be attacked.”
“You can do one or two things: You can say that’s no longer my problem let it build and get hit or hit them before they hit you,” Graham said.
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