Washington – At today’s House Republican leadership press conference, Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) spoke about President Biden’s expected announcement that he will withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.
Watch the video here, and see the transcript below:
REP. LIZ CHENEY: I also want to just say a word about Afghanistan. President Biden announced that he will be withdrawing forces from Afghanistan – I understand he’s making a speech this afternoon – by a date certain. First of all, any withdrawal of forces based on a political timeline, and he has said, as I understand it, that this will not be based on conditions on the ground. Any withdrawal of forces that is not based on conditions on the ground puts American security at risk. He’s further, apparently, going to announce that the date for the withdrawal will be September 11th. Now, I’m not sure why the White House has selected that date, but I can tell you that that is a huge propaganda victory for the Taliban, for al Qaeda. The notion that on the day they attacked us, we are going to mark that anniversary by withdrawing our forces. We know that al Qaeda continues to operate across Afghanistan, we know that the Taliban has not, in fact, lived up to any of the commitments that they made during the previous administration, and we know that this kind of a pullback is reckless, it’s dangerous, it puts American security at risk, it will provide an opportunity for terrorists to be able to establish safe havens again. It also puts the women of Afghanistan at risk. It puts the women of Afghanistan into the position they were in potentially 20 years ago where their lives are not valued, where they have no freedom. The United States of America went to Afghanistan because our security depended upon it, because we were attacked by al Qaeda, because the Taliban hosted al Qaeda – that relationship continues. A withdrawal of forces that isn’t based on conditions on the ground is fundamentally dangerous.
The president is apparently going to say, “We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago, but that cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.” I would say that does explain exactly why we must remain there. We know what happens if terrorists establish safe havens – we must ensure it doesn’t happen again. Finally, I would say the president is obligated by law that we passed in the NDAA last year “to certify that conditions have been met for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS” before he initiates any significant withdrawal. That is an obligation we expect that the White House will uphold and will meet. Again, it’s an obligation that they have by law, we passed in the NDAA last year.