Lindsey Graham says US forces will return to Afghanistan again: ‘We’ll have to’

Republican argues that troops will be forced to return because of the threat of terrorism will be ‘so large’

Gino Spocchia
Tuesday 07 September 2021 13:42 BST
Lindsey Graham says US will invade Afghanistan again
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Republican senator Lindsey Graham has said he believes the US will eventually return to Afghanistan following the United States’ military withdrawal after 20 years of combat.

Mr Graham, who was speaking with BBC radio host Stepehn Sukur on Sunday, said US forces would be “going back into Afghanistan” in the future because of the threat of terrorism from America’s absence.

“Here is where we are,” said the Republican. “[The Taliban are] going to give safe haven to Al-Qaeda, who has ambitions to drive us out of the Middle East and attack us because of our way of life. We will be going back into Afghanistan like we went back into Iraq and Syria.”

“The Taliban are not reformed, they’re not new,” Mr Graham added. “They have a view of the world out of sync with modern times. They’re going to impose a lifestyle on the Afghan people that is going to make us all sick to our stomachs.”

A final US military flight took off from Afghanistan last week – completing the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years, which allowed the Taliban to retake Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Asked whether or not he seriously believed US troops would return, Mr Graham said: “We’ll have to. We’ll have to because the threat will be so large.”

“Why did we go back to Syria and Iraq? Why do we have 5,000 troops in Iraq today? Because of the caliphate rising, projecting force outside of Iraq,” said the Republican senator. “Killing Americans, killing the French, attacking the British.”

Mr Graham was among the Republican figures to criticise US President Joe Biden for failing to anticipate the fall of the Afghan government and army on 15 August, and of the Taliban regaining territory.

The militant group called on the US to respect a 31 August deadline to withdraw – a date that was three months later than what former US president Donald Trump, who signed deal with the militants last February, had agreed to.

Although hundreds of thousands of Americans, allies and refugees were able to be flown out of Kabul, a number remain in the country. It is not clear if the Taliban will allow commercial flights to resume in future.

The 2001 invasion by US and NATO forces removed the Taliban from power in the aftermath of 9/11 – and largely defeated Al-Qaeda, who were responsible for the US on 11 September 2001, and were accused of hiding in Afghanistan.

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