Hillary Clinton on Sunday warned that the US could face “huge consequences” from President Biden’s decision to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan.
The former secretary of state was asked on CNN what she thought of Biden’s move to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
“It’s one thing to pull out troops that have been supporting security in Afghanistan, supporting the Afghan military, leaving it pretty much to fend for itself, but we can’t afford to walk away from the consequences of that decision,” she said.
While acknowledging that the decision was a “difficult” one, Clinton noted the potential for “two huge consequences” — a Taliban-controlled Afghan government and subsequent “huge refugee outflow.”
There could be “a largely Taliban-run government at some point in the not-too-distant future” in Afghanistan, said Clinton, the 2016 Democratic candidate for president.
“How do we help and protect the many, many thousands of Afghans who worked with the United States and NATO, who worked with American and other NATO-connected contractors who stood up and spoke out for women’s rights and human rights?” she asked.
“I hope that the administration in concert with the Congress will have a very large visa program and will begin immediately to try to provide that channel for so many Afghans to utilize so that they are not left in danger.”
The former senator from New York added that: “There will also be, I fear, a huge refugee outflow.”
“And of course the second big set of problems revolves around a resumption of activities by global terrorist groups, most particularly Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.”
American troops have been in Afghanistan since October 2001, following the 9/11 attacks the previous month.
About 2,500 US troops remain in Afghanistan.
Former President Donald Trump had wanted to withdraw by May 1, but Biden has said that deadline would be hard to meet because of “tactical reasons.”