Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice allegedly spoke out against Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Clinton, who was secretary of state under former President Barack Obama, declined to endorse the planned withdrawal by her fellow Democrat, Biden, according to Axios.
Rice, who was also the top US diplomat under Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, reportedly told lawmakers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee that American troops may have to return to Afghanistan after the pullout.
‘We had Secretaries Clinton and Condi Rice Zoom today with the committee,’ a committee member was quoted as saying by Axios.
‘A little disagreement on Afghanistan, but they both agreed we’re going to need to sustain a counterterrorism mission somehow outside of that country.’
Two former secretaries of state – Hillary Clinton (left) and Condoleezza Rice (right) – are reportedly opposed to President Biden’s planned withdrawal of all American forces from Afghanistan
Biden (seen above in Duluth, Georgia on Thursday) announced on April 14 that he would remove all remaining US forces from Afghanistan by September 11 of this year – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks
Members of the US Navy carry a comrade wounded by an explosion to a medevac helicopter in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan in October 2010. While Biden’s decision keeps US forces in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, it sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 US troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1trillion
The member quoted Rice as saying: ‘You know, we’re probably gonna have to go back [to Afghanistan].’
‘With the potential for an Islamic State, coupled with what they’re going to do to our contractors in Yemen and Afghanistan is, sadly, it’s going to be tragic there and we all see it coming,’ House Rep. Mike McCaul, a Republican from Texas, told Axios.
Another member of the committee told Axios that Clinton and Rice were concerned about what would happen to American diplomats on the ground after a troop withdrawal.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House for comment.
On April 14, Biden said he will withdraw remaining US troops from the ‘forever war’ in Afghanistan, declaring that the September 11 terror attacks of 20 years ago cannot justify American forces still dying in the nation’s longest war.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken (seen above at the US Capitol on Wednesday) has admitted that a civil war or Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is ‘certainly a possible scenario’ when the US withdraws all its troops from the country by September 11
His plan is to pull out all American forces – numbering 2,500 now – by this Sept. 11, the anniversary of the attacks, which were coordinated from Afghanistan.
Biden’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, admitted on Tuesday that a civil war or Taliban takeover in Afghanistan is ‘certainly a possible scenario’ when the US withdraws all its troops from the country by September 11.
Blinken told CNN ‘s Jake Tapper on Tuesday the Biden administration is ‘planning for every scenario’ that could arise from the move.
But he insisted the US is ‘not disengaging from Afghanistan’ and will continue to be ‘deeply engaged’ in supporting the country long after troops have left.
Soon after Biden made his announcement, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels said the alliance had agreed to withdraw its roughly 7,000 forces from Afghanistan, matching Biden’s decision to begin a final pullout by May 1.
The US cannot continue to pour resources into an intractable war and expect different results, Biden said.
The drawdown would begin rather than conclude by May 1, which has been the deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year.
‘It is time to end America’s longest war,’ Biden said, but he added that the US will ‘not conduct a hasty rush to the exit.’
‘We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result,’ said Biden, who delivered his address from the White House Treaty Room, the same location where Bush announced the start of the war.
‘I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.’
Biden’s announcement, which he followed with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, marks perhaps the most significant foreign policy decision in the early going of his presidency.
As secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton was more hawkish than both Obama and Biden. In 2009, she supported a surge of 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan to counter gains made in the country by the Taliban. From left: Clinton, then-President Barack Obama, and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the White House in September 2009
Rice was the chief foreign policy adviser to Bush, the architect of the American ‘war on terror’ after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In the wake of the attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. Rice and Bush are seen at the White House in January 2009
He’s long been skeptical about the US presence in Afghanistan.
As Obama’s vice president, Biden was a lonely voice in the administration who advised the 44th president to tilt towards a smaller counterterrorism role in the country while military advisers were urging a troop buildup to counter Taliban gains.
As secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton was more hawkish than both Obama and Biden.
In 2009, she supported a surge of 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan to counter gains made in the country by the Taliban.
Clinton was also a fierce supporter of regime change in Libya.
Rice was the chief foreign policy adviser to Bush, the architect of the American ‘war on terror’ after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In the wake of the attacks, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.
Biden has also made clear he wants to recalibrate US foreign policy to face bigger challenges posed by China and Russia.
Withdrawing all US troops comes with clear risks.
It could boost the Taliban’s effort to claw back power and undo gains toward democracy and women’s rights made over the past two decades.
It also opens Biden to criticism, from mostly Republicans and some Democrats, even though former President Donald Trump had also wanted a full withdrawal.
‘This administration has decided to abandon US efforts in Afghanistan which have helped keep radical Islamic terrorism in check,’ said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
‘And bizarrely, they have decided to do so by September 11th.’
While Biden’s decision keeps US forces in Afghanistan four months longer than initially planned, it sets a firm end to two decades of war that killed more than 2,200 US troops, wounded 20,000, and cost as much as $1trillion.
Excerpts from Biden’s speech on Afghanistan
President Biden will make remarks on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The White House released excerpts of his speech:
We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.
I am now the fourth American president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats.
I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.
After consulting closely with our Allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence professionals, with our diplomats and development experts, and with Congress and the Vice President, I have concluded that:
It is time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home.
While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue.
We will continue to support the Government of Afghanistan.
We will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Along with our partners, we are training and equipping nearly 300,000 personnel. And they continue to fight valiantly on behalf of their country and defend the Afghan people, at great cost.
We will support peace talks between the Government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, facilitated by the United Nations.
We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago.
That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.
Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that will determine our standing and reach today and into the years to come.