Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy said Tuesday that Afghan interpreters could see a violent end if the U.S. doesn’t move to get them evacuated amid the pull-out, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that Afghanistan was ‘unraveling.’
Leahy appeared on MSNBC Tuesday morning and talked about why he included funding to help Afghan refugees in a larger $3.7 billion emergency spending bill that also includes funding for the Capitol Police.
‘If they’re not given refugee status, we’re going to see pictures of them lined up against the wall and machine-gunned,’ the Vermont Democrat said, saying he feared violence at the hands of the Taliban. ‘That’s not an exaggeration.’
Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, said he feared Afghan interpreters would be ‘lined up against the wall and machine-gunned’ by the Taliban
In the interview he noted ‘both Donald Trump and Joe Biden wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan.’
‘Now we’re finally doing it,’ he added.
Leahy explained to MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson that he included money for Afghans in the bill because the clock was ticking.
‘We can sit in the safety of the Senate chamber and talk back and forth. We’re not the ones facing those bullets,’ he said.
‘If your life is in danger, you’re going to be shot, you don’t want to wait for parliamentary maneuvers in the U.S. Senate, you want to get it done,’ Leahy added.
In a speech last Thursday and in previous public statements about Afghanistan, Biden partially justified the pull-out because Trump had already struck a withdrawal deal and he said he believed American troops would be targeted by the Taliban if he went back on it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seen speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said on the Senate floor that ‘Afghanistan is unraveling’
But that hardly means the move has been given a bipartisan blessing.
McConnell, the chamber’s top Republican, lambasted the move in a Tuesday Senate floor speech.
‘Our reckless rush to the exits is becoming a global embarrassment,’ the Kentucky Republican said. ‘He’s ignoring the truth unfolding before our very eyes: Afghanistan is unraveling.’
Some of the latest shocking images come from a video that emerged this week that purported to show 22 Afghan Special Forces soldiers gunned down by Taliban fighters.
CNN reported that the killings occurred on June 16 and that witnesses told the network the special forces arrived in armored vehicles, spent two hours in a gun-fight with the Taliban, and then ran out of ammunition.
They received no air support or back-up of any kind, despite calling for reinforcements.
‘The other forces betrayed the commandos,’ an anonymous official told Stars and Stripes magazine at the time.
In his Thursday address, Biden vowed that the U.S. would support Afghans who assisted the war effort.
Gruesome video shows Taliban fighters killing 22 Afghan Special Forces soldiers in a June incident that came to light this week. Footage shows unarmed soldiers with their arms raised being marched into the street before men with rifles open fire while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’
Disturbing footage has emerged purporting to show the moment 22 Afghan commandos were massacred in the town of Dawlat Abad on June 16 while surrendering to the Taliban
A body of an Afghan soldier lies on the ground after Taliban forces executed Afghan forces in June
‘We’re also going to continue to make sure that we take on the Afghan nationals who work side-by-side with U.S. forces, including interpreters and translators – since we’re no longer going to have military there after this; we’re not going to need them and they have no jobs – who are also going to be vital to our efforts so they – and they’ve been very vital — and so their families are not ex posed to danger as well,’ Biden said.
‘We’ve already dramatically accelerated the procedure time for Special Immigrant Visas to bring them to the United States,’ he added.
Biden also expressed that he believed Afghan forces were superior fighters over the Taliban.
‘The Afghan troops have 300,000 well-equipped – as well-equipped as any army in the world – and an air force, against something like 75,000 Taliban,’ Biden said, saying it was ‘not inevitable’ that the Afghan government would fall to the Taliban.