Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., Has long advocated a plan to evacuate the nearly 18,000 Afghan interpreters, allies and their families from Afghanistan before US forces are fully withdrawn. He told CNBC The News with Shepard Smith that President Joe Biden’s speech on Thursday was a step in the right direction.
“This was a huge win today for all of our Afghan friends and allies,” said Moulton, a Marine who completed four tours of Iraq. “In the last few weeks I’ve got three things from the [Biden] Administration: a detailed plan, a commander in charge of it, and an obligation to complete the mission, and today the President mentioned all three. “
Moulton noted that the president had not named a specific commander and that he would like to know how the US “will bring Afghan interpreters from far, rural parts of the country to a central evacuation point.”
Biden announced that the U.S. military will complete its withdrawal from Afghanistan by August 31, almost two weeks before its September 11 deadline. In his speech, he affirmed that the US “will continue to ensure that we take on the Afghan nationals who work on the site”. -side with US armed forces “and that the US has already dramatically accelerated the process time for special immigrant visas to be brought to the United States”.
Host Shepard Smith also asked Moulton if he believed the Taliban will take over Afghanistan once the US pulls out of the country completely. Moulton said the US should be prepared regardless of the outcome.
“Look, the bottom line is that we have to be prepared for both eventualities, and one of the questions I’ll be asking in detail, especially in secret meetings with the Armed Services Committee, is what contingency plans they have.” for the possibility that the Taliban will simply overrun the Afghan government, “Moulton said.
Biden defended the swift withdrawal of the US military from Afghanistan after a reporter asked if the Taliban’s takeover of power in the country was inevitable.
“The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-armed troops, as well-armed as any army in the world, and an air force against about 75,000 Taliban,” said Biden. “It’s not inevitable.”
Moulton said that while he did not know that he had as much confidence in the Afghan security forces as Biden, he believed the president was right when he said “we have given them a lot of capacity”.
America’s longest war has killed around 2,300 US soldiers and wounded thousands more. It is estimated that more than 100,000 Afghans have been killed or wounded since the conflict began. The US has spent $ 825 billion on combat operations in a CRS report for Congress, according to the Department of Defense.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.