WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced he will withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 this year.
“Our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went there in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that,” the president said.
The president says troops will be removed by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says troops stand ready for any attack during the drawdown.
“We will respond forcefully should the Taliban attack any of our forces or those of our allies,” Austin said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is optimistic about the plan.
“I have been assured by the White House that the September 11th date will stick and that Biden will not kick the can down the road,” Schumer said.
However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) calls the withdrawal a big mistake.
“A democratic administration is going to skip the negotiations and just surrender an entire country back to the Taliban on the very same date,” McConnell said.
And Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) says it sends the wrong message to our enemies.
“The notion that on the day that they attacked us, we are going to mark that anniversary by withdrawing our forces,” Cheney said.
Following the president’s announcement, Republicans continued their strong opposition to Biden’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called the decision a “disaster.”