Assessment of the evolution of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan
Some lawmakers fear that the Taliban and Iran will profit from the departure of the United States.
WASHINGTON – Exactly how the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan unfolds depends to a large extent on who is asked.
The United States Special Representative for Reconciliation in Afghanistan told the House Oversight Committee on Thursday that things were going well.
“So far, the withdrawal has proceeded without significant incidents and we expect this to continue,” said envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. “However, we are ready to respond forcefully in the event of an attack and we have made it very clear.”
The Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the United States will work, even after it leaves, to ensure that Afghanistan is never again a haven for terrorists.
“I think the president’s decision reflects the fact that US interests can be better served by supplementing and ending US military engagement in Afghanistan,” said David Helvey. “This does not mean that the American involvement in Afghanistan ends. We will continue to work with the Afghan government.”
But some lawmakers fear the region’s bad actors will rise up once the United States is gone.
“We have invested a lot in Afghanistan, in terms of dollars, lives, tens of thousands of injured,” said Sen Angus King (I-Maine). “And yet here we are, on the brink of … it’s debatable, we’ll know in a year or so, if the Taliban take over the country, and we’re back to where we were in 2001.”
Asked by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), Brigadier General Matthew Trollinger, deputy director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted that Iran could enter a vacuum.
“I would consider that they would be opportunistic and seek all the opportunities to gain an advantage,” he said.
President Joseph R. Biden has set September 11 as the deadline for the exit of all U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors.
Since 2001, US taxpayers have spent more than $ 824.9 billion on Afghanistan. 2,312 US servicemen were killed in action and 20,086 soldiers were wounded.