President Joe Biden is facing heat for suicide bomb attacks that killed more than 100 people Thursday including at least 10 U.S. Marines and 90 Afghans as crowds tried to enter the U.S.-controlled at Kabul Airport in the final push of the U.S.-led evacuation effort from Afghanistan.
Republicans are slamming the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan after the attack, saying he created the mess and encouraging him to prolong the U.S. troop presence there, Fox reported.
This has prompted accusations that Republicans including former President Donald Trump are weaponizing the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to undermine faith in Biden as commander in chief, Reuters reported. A week before the suicide attack, public opinion was mixed with a majority of both Republican and Democratic voters saying the sudden collapse of the Afghan government “is evidence why the U.S. should get out of the conflict”.
“Mr. President, fix the mess you created,” tweeted former Navy Seal Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in response to the bombings. “Stop running from it. We are still at war. You didn’t ‘end the war,’ you just gave the enemy new advantage. Go on offense, establish superiority, and don’t leave until all our citizens and allies are safe.”
Former Naval aviator Rep. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.) told Fox News in an interview Thursday that he was “not surprised” by the attack. “I mean ISIS-K, they’re all intertwined, all interrelated, they feed off of one another. Not at all a surprise to me.”
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the president would “have blood on his hands.”
A photo of Biden went viral Thursday on social media showing his head bowed down during a press conference at the White House. This triggered responses of derision and praise.
“This is what weakness looks like,” Trump son @DonaldJTrumpJr tweeted.
“This is what humanity looks like,” tweeted Mary L, Trump, a psychologist, author and estranged niece of the former president.
Donald Trump’s former national security advisor from 2018 to 2019, John Bolton has criticized former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who negotiated a deal with the Taliban in February 2020, for distancing himself from the Afghanistan withdrawal. According to the deal, the U.S. would withdraw troops from Afghanistan within 14 months provided the Taliban did not turn the country into a terrorist base.
Pompeo and Trump have come under attack over their Taliban agreement. At the signing ceremony in Qatar, Pompeo posed for photos with Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is expected to lead the next Taliban government in Afghanistan.
In recent days, Biden has said that he inherited a bad withdrawal agreement from his Republican predecessor, Reuters reported.
Both the Trump and Biden administrations are responsible for the chaotic removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Bolton said. “The idea that somehow, there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden told ABC News on Wednesday. “There is no good time to leave Afghanistan. Fifteen years ago would’ve been a problem, 15 years from now. The basic choice is am I going to send your sons and your daughters to war in Afghanistan in perpetuity?”
Two days before the suicide bombing, Biden said he was sticking to his Aug. 31 deadline for completing the airlift of Americans and endangered Afghans. This opened Biden up to criticism that he caved to the Taliban. He is also accused of defying Allied leaders who wanted to extend the deadline for evacuations, AP News reported.
“Every day we’re on the ground is another day that we know ISIS-K is seeking to target the airport and attack both us and allied forces and innocent civilians,” Biden said Tuesday at the White House, referring to the Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate, which is infamous for suicide attacks on civilians. The Taliban are cooperating with the U.S., Biden said, “but it’s a tenuous situation. We run a serious risk of it breaking down as time goes on.”
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Biden mourned the death of U.S. service members Thursday and promised to retaliate. The U.S. has helped more than 100,000 people leave Afghanistan since Aug. 14, according to the White House.
Some prominent Republican lawmakers on Thursday blamed Biden for the attacks and called for him to resign or be impeached.
“This is the product of Joe Biden’s catastrophic failure of leadership. It is now painfully clear he has neither the will nor the capacity to lead. He must resign,” said Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who led the effort among Senate objectors to challenge Biden’s 2020 election victory in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Biden’s approval rating, which was at 52.7 percent a month ago, dropped to 47.1 percent as of Thursday, according to FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker.
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