Joe Biden must provide Afghans with air support beyond Aug 31: US Senate Minority leader
US President Joe Biden should commit to providing more help to Afghan forces including air support beyond the original August 31 end date due to escalating violence and a swift Taliban advance in the country, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday.
"President Biden should immediately commit to providing more support to Afghan forces, starting with close air support beyond August 31st. Without it, al Qaeda and the Taliban may celebrate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning down our Embassy in Kabul," McConnell said in a statement.
The Taliban have captured several key provincial capitals over the last several weeks, including the country's second-largest city Kandahar.
This statement by McConnell comes a few days after US President Joe Biden on Tuesday had said that he does not regret his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan. Biden had also urged Afghanistan's leaders to unite and "fight for their nation" against the Taliban terrorists.
"Afghan leaders have to come together," Biden told reporters. "They've got to fight for themselves."
Mitch McConnell in his statement said that Biden's strategy has turned an imperfect but stable situation into a major embarrassment and a global emergency in a matter of weeks.
"President Biden is finding that the quickest way to end a war is to lose it. The costs and ramifications will echo across the world."
"If we let the Taliban dominate Afghanistan and al Qaeda return, it will resonate throughout the global jihadist movement. It will replay what happened when the last Democratic president let ISIS claim much of Iraq and Syria for a caliphate and a wave of global terrorism was unleashed."
The Taliban began its offensive in May and began seizing key districts. More than 150 districts have fallen to the Taliban, Long War Journal reported. The terrorist group now controls eight of Afghanistan's 34 provinces in their entirety, it added.
Meanwhile, intra-Afghan talks have effectively stalled in Doha, Qatar.