Top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham believes American troops will return to Afghanistan despite the chaotic military withdrawal from the war-torn country that was completed days ago.
“We will be going back to Afghanistan as we went back into Iraq and Syria,” Graham said in an interview with BBC.
Replying to BBC HARDTalk Presenter Stephen Sackur, who asked whether he sincerely believes that Washington will be willing to go back to the country that is now under de-facto control of the Taliban, Graham stated that Washington simply had no other choice.
“We’ll have to because the [terror] threat will be so large,” the senator argued, adding that Afghanistan could turn into a hotspot for what he called “radical Islamic behavior”, as well as a safe haven for Al-Qaeda terrorists.
According to Graham, concerns for the rise of terrorist elements is exactly the reason why the US “went back” to Iraq, where “5,000 troops” are stationed today.
BBC reported in July following the talks between Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and Joe Biden that there were currently 2,500 US troops in Iraq helping local forces to repel the Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) threat.
Graham claims that the US has few options regarding should deal with the current situation in Afghanistan.
“Here is my solution: help the resistance in the Panjshir valley, the Taliban will not be able to govern Afghanistan, they are hated by the Afghan people. What’s gonna happen over time as you see the resistance rise? ISIS will come after the Taliban large and the entire country is going to fracture in the next year, creating a perfect storm for Western interests to be attacked,” he continued.
The Republican senator said that in response, the United States could either take a “that’s no longer my problem” stance or a “hit before they hit you” approach.
Last month, Graham stated in the interview with CBS that he feared that a “parade of horribles” was about to unfold in Afghanistan, adding, “The chance of another 9/11 just went through the roof.”
The senator had previously called for the impeachment of Biden over the Afghan withdrawal fiasco and evacuation chaos, saying that the US president had “been derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief”.
“I don’t think he got bad advice and took it. I think he ignored sound advice,” Graham raged, adding, “I think the best you could describe is dereliction of duty at the highest level.”
The Taliban forces took Afghanistan’s capital Kabul on August 15 almost without a fight, and proclaimed the end of the 20-year-long war the next day. The militants still continued fighting the National Resistance Front in the province of Panjshir, the only territory in Afghanistan which is believed to not have fallen under the group’s control. However, the Taliban had announced several times in the last few days that the group had finally managed to capture the province, with the National Resistance Front repeatedly refuting these claims.