Earlier this week, President Joe Biden announced that he was planning to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by September 11, 2021 — the twentieth anniversary of the deadliest terror attack in American history — when he extended the May 1 deadline set by former President Donald Trump.
“The Afghan War is the longest war in United States history, stretching from just days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed more than 3,000 Americans, all the way through the George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump presidential administrations,” reported The Daily Wire.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) released a statement regarding Biden’s announcement.
“The Biden Administration’s announced timeline for the safe, strategic and orderly departure of American troops from Afghanistan is an important and welcomed development. As Speaker, I support this transition and President Biden’s leadership to protect the safety of our troops and the security of the American people which must be our priority,” Pelosi’s statement began.
“The United States Congress remains committed to advancing peace and security in Afghanistan and the region, including an inclusive Afghan government that respects the human rights of all its people. It is imperative that the hard-won gains secured by and for Afghan women and girls are not erased. Congress will be working closely with the Administration to ensure that our support for our Afghan partners remains strong and that this transition is orderly and made in coordination with our allies,” the statement continued.
“As we mark twenty years since the tragedy of September 11, we look forward to welcoming our heroic troops back to American shores safely as soon as possible,” Pelosi concluded.
Biden’s decision was widely criticized by foreign policy experts, and Pelosi’s outspoken support seems at odds with her response to Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in late 2020, given that Biden’s announcement is simply an extension of Trump’s original deadline.
“Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership to protect America’s security and that of the region. America went into Afghanistan with NATO, and it is concerning that Trump’s withdrawal is being carried out without the close and comprehensive coordination of NATO. It is important to note that NATO is a key partner contributing over half of the troop presence in Afghanistan. This hasty withdrawal does not appear to have a strategic plan that adequately anticipates contingencies, especially related to terrorism and the protection of our military, diplomats and development presence,” Pelosi stated in November 17, 2020.
“As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned today, ‘The price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high. Afghanistan risks becoming once again a platform for international terrorists to plan and organize attacks on our homelands. And ISIS could rebuild in Afghanistan the terror caliphate it lost in Syria and Iraq,’” the House Speaker added.
“We can ill afford to lose the hard-won gains in the pillars of security, economic development and governance made in Afghanistan. We always want to bring our troops home and look forward to welcoming them back to American shores safely as soon as possible,” Pelosi concluded.
This is not the first time Pelosi has appeared to change course on the subject of the war in Afghanistan. In 2009, The Wall Street Journal reported that Pelosi stated, “I don’t think there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan, in the country or in Congress,” in response to reports of a request for an increase in troop numbers.
The Wall Street Journal then noted, “It is well known that Mr. Obama has called Afghanistan a ‘war of necessity.’ Less publicized is that in 2007 Speaker Pelosi was also saying that our real interests were in Afghanistan. ‘The war on terror is in Afghanistan,’ Ms. Pelosi said just two years ago. ‘The fact that we weakened our commitment to Afghanistan in order to concentrate in Iraq has taken a toll.'”
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