Biden has been missing in action…he must resign now

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Opposition Republicans have demanded the President step down with John Katko, of the Homeland Security Committee, describing him as “missing in action”.

But Democrats also questioned his leadership following Thursday’s attack in Kabul.

Democrat Congressman Seth Moulton, a former Marine Corps officer, said: “Even if you completely agree with the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw, the way they have handled this has been a total ****** disaster.”

He said the extent of the tragedy “will be measured in bodies, because a lot of people are dying because they can’t get out”.

He had spent about 15 hours on Tuesday at Kabul airport where a suicide bomber killed 13 US troops and dozens of Afghan civilians.

The trip left him convinced Mr Biden had made grave mistakes.

He described the scenes he witnessed as “the most visceral, raw view of humanity that I will probably ever see in my life”.

Republicans Josh Hawley, Elise Stefanik and Marsha Blackburn all blamed Mr Biden. Nikki Haley, former US ambassador to the UN, called on him to step down or be impeached.

But she warned that would leave them with Kamala Harris, now vice president, which “would be 10 times worse”.

Ms Stefanik said: “This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be commander-in-chief.”

Mr Biden’s decision to end America’s longest war was driven by his determination not to lose one more military member.

In a searing response to the bombing, he vowed to “hunt down” the ISIS-K terrorists who claimed credit for the deaths.

“To those who carried out this attack, as well as anyone who wishes America harm, know this: We will not forgive, we will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

The comment mirrored that then president George W Bush made after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, that began the “war on terror” in Afghanistan.

He said at the time: “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

During his White House address, Mr Biden occasionally appeared lost for words, stumbling at times while becoming frustrated at questions. When pressed, the President stood by his decision to withdraw troops so quickly.

He said he remained committed to next Tuesday’s withdrawal placing greater pressure on the dangerous operation to evacuate US citizens and allies from Afghanistan.

However, things deepened when he appeared to admit US officials had handed over the names of those who helped America, creating what has been called a Taliban “kill” list.

On the ground, Afghan human rights activist Pashtana Durrani criticised Mr Biden.

She said: “When your President says ‘We will not forget and we will not forgive,’ it’s exactly what he did. He forgave the Taliban. He forgot what they did. He’s leaving and there was no hunting down.

She said the US is “setting an example of the fact that every now and then when you fight a holy war, and you recruit people and you murder people in suicide bombings, after two decades, you are acceptable.

The US came for their own benefit and for their own war, but it was fought on our ground.

“Your President said that we are a country that is having petty fights about our tribes. It’s the tribes that are protecting me right now. It’s the different ethnicities that are protecting me.

“It’s the different allies that I have built over the course of years who are here who are willing to protect me.” Mr Biden’s refusal to extend the withdrawal deadline came as Leon Panetta, a Democrat who served as Defence Secretary in the Obama administration, said America will have to return to Afghanistan.

When asked if he believed it was right for the Biden administration to stick with the August 31 deadline, Mr Panetta said: “The bottom line is, our work is not done. We’re going to have to go after ISIS.

“I’m glad the President said we’re going to hunt them down and pay a price for what they did in killing our warriors. And we should. We’re going to have to go back in to get ISIS.

“We’re probably going to have to go back in when al-Qaeda resurrects itself, as they will, with this Taliban. They’ve given safe haven to al-Qaeda before, they’ll probably do it again.”

He added: “I understand that we’re trying to get our troops out of there, but the bottom line is, we can leave a battlefield, but we can’t leave the war on terrorism, which still is a threat to our security.”

The potential for the US to return to Afghanistan, which has so far cost them more than 2,400 American lives and more than £1.45 trillion, comes as the threat of civil war between the Taliban,

ISIS-K, al-Qaeda and The Northern Alliance rose substantially. Mr Biden, who was yesterday preparing to speak to relatives of the 13 US soldiers killed, has sought to shift blame for the trouble on to his predecessor Donald Trump.

On June 8, the former leader even boasted how Mr Biden had tried to stop what he had begun.

He bragged: “I started the process, all the troops are coming home. They [Biden] couldn’t stop the process.Twenty years is enough.”

Mr Trump has since claimed the deadly attacks would not have happened on his watch as ISIS and the Taliban were too afraid of the force he would use in retaliation.

Following the suicide bombings, Mr Trump was quick to distance himself further.

He said: “We look like fools all over the world. We are weak, we are pathetic, we are being led by people that have no idea what they are doing.”

The former president has since removed all literature from his websites about the deal he made with the Taliban.

His former national security adviser, John Bolton, said his exboss’s position on withdrawing US troops was the same as Biden’s.

He added: “Had Trump been reelected, he’d be doing the same thing. On this question of withdrawal from Afghanistan, Trump and Biden are like Tweedledee and Tweedledum.”

When he was in office, Mr Trump negotiated a deal with the Taliban to withdraw by May 1 of this year.

Mr Biden later set a deadline of next Tuesday.

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COMMENT BY ANTHONY GLEES

WE know that there was intelligence suggesting that an attack by ISIS-K was likely because last week President Biden said it was a reason to complete the withdrawal.

You would expect the president of the most powerful nation on Earth, presented with an imminent attack on US and Nato personnel to fly troops in, rather than evacuate personnel.

This was prime-grade information, almost certainly coming from the Taliban. If it did come from them further points need to be made.

First, the Taliban could not fulfil a likely condition of the deal struck in Doha with its leadership, namely that US troops would be safe.

The United Nations says up to 10,000 non-Afghan Islamists have flooded into the country.

First they helped the Taliban defeat the Afghan defence force. Then it seems they started fighting the Taliban who weren’t extreme enough for them. This will have included former Al-Qaeda fighters and Islamic State. Further attacks are likely.

  • Anthony Glees is Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies

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