House Foreign Relations Committee member Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) told CNBC that the Biden administration’s set timeline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan limited America’s negotiating ability to set up a smoother exit from the country or to ask for more time.
“This administration determined that September 11 was the timeline that we were moving forward on, and this administration also determined that August 31 was the timeline that they were working towards, and so that sort of cooked the books in some sorts of ways, in terms of what we were able to do and the timelines we were able to do it, because we needed to withdraw within that timeline,” said Houlahan, an Air Force veteran.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified for the first time on Monday since America’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31. He told lawmakers that the White House inherited a deadline to withdraw without any plan from the Trump administration, and insisted the Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban left them with only two options: to either pull out or to send in more troops, escalate the war, and take casualties.
Houlahan also acknowledged that the Trump administration’s deal with the Taliban was not conducive to an effective withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“I will give the Biden administration the fact that there were some pretty destructive things that were done in that plan, in terms of negotiating with the Taliban and not including the Afghan government in their plans,” said Houlahan during a Monday evening interview on “The News with Shepard Smith.”
The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.