Clinton warns of “huge consequences” over Biden’s Afghanistan drawdown plan

The then US Vice President Joe Biden and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009. (Photo by AP)

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned of "huge consequences" over Joe Biden administration's decision to withdraw American troops from war-ravaged Afghanistan.

In an interview with CNN, Clinton said there are "two huge consequences," that Washington should worry about: potential collapse of Kabul and Taliban's takeover of the country, and the resumption of global terrorist activities.

"Probably with a resumption of civil war in certain parts of the country, but a largely Taliban-run government at some point in the not-too-distant future," she noted.
"There will also be, I fear, a huge refugee outflow," the former First Lady stressed. "And of course, the second big set of problems revolves around a resumption of activities by global terrorist groups, most particularly Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (Daesh)."

On being asked what she thought of her fellow Democrat's decision, Clinton said the decision "has been made", and it is a "very difficult decision."

"This is what we call a wicked problem. You know there are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving. The president has made the decision to leave," she said.

"It's one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting security in Afghanistan, supporting the Afghan military, leaving it pretty much to fend for itself, but we can’t afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision," Clinton said.

Drawdown of US troops

US and NATO troops began to withdraw from the war-torn country last week amid a sharp spike in Taliban attacks across the country.

"NATO allies decided in mid-April to start the withdrawal of Resolute Support Mission forces by May 1 and this withdrawal has begun. This will be an orderly, coordinated, and deliberate process," a NATO official said in a statement on Thursday.


Pertinently, the US and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 on the pretext of fighting terrorism and dismantling the Taliban militant group.

The invasion — which eventually turned into the longest war in US history — failed to achieve its stated objectives, and in turn caused more bloodshed and destruction in the country.

Nearly two decades after the invasion, Washington struck a deal with the Taliban in Qatar early last year, according to which all foreign troops were expected to leave Afghan soil by May 1.

However, President Biden last month announced the withdrawal plan by September 11, a delay of four months from the May 1 deadline stipulated under the agreement.

Biden said the troop withdrawal would complete on September 11, 2021, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks that triggered the military invasion of Afghanistan.

Washington also announced that it will temporarily deploy additional forces there to protect US troops as they depart, extending the presence of a US aircraft carrier in the region.

"The president's intent is clear: the US military departure from Afghanistan will not be rushed or hasty. It will be deliberate and conducted in a safe and responsible manner that ensures the protection of forces," White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday.

Taliban up the ante

The war-ravaged country, particularly its restive southern provinces, has witnessed an alarming surge in violence in recent weeks, which experts see as Taliban's 'spring offensive'.

The militant group has accused Washington of “brazenly breaching" its agreement on the withdrawal of US and allied troops from Afghanistan, threatening to increase the violence.

"The US shamefully breached‎ the agreement on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Americans have failed to adhere to their commitments," Taliban spokesman Mohammed Naeem Wardak told Press TV in an exclusive interview on April 15.


Taliban this week renewed the warning of scaling up attacks on US troops occupying the country, even as the commander of foreign forces in the country said they would respond forcefully.

The militant group's spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Saturday that the passing deadline meant “this violation in principle has opened the way for (Taliban fighters) to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.”

It came hours before a powerful vehicle-borne bomb exploded in eastern province of Logar, leaving at least 27 people dead and dozens more wounded, and another attack on an international airfield in southern Kandahar province.

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