- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Ted Cruz Blasts Biden for 'Catastrophic' Decision to Abandon Bagram Air Base Before Evacuation

© AP Photo / Massoud HossainiU.S. service members stand in front of a U.S. flag during a ceremony on the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in front of the World Trade Center Memorial at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014
U.S. service members stand in front of a U.S. flag during a ceremony on the thirteenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in front of the World Trade Center Memorial at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.08.2021
Afghan forces reportedly discovered US troops abandoned the Bagram Air Base – once the epicentre of America's "War on Terror" – two hours after they left. The airfield has since been captured by the Taliban*, which seized control of the country on 15 August.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz has lashed out at the Joe Biden administration for abandoning the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan last month before kick-starting the evacuation process in what proved to be a "catastrophic" decision.
Cruz retweeted a statement by General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the US troop withdrawal from the largest US military base in Afghanistan.
In a speech delivered in 18 August, Milley said: "Our task given to us at that time, our task was to protect the embassy in order for the embassy personnel to continue to function with their consular service and all that. If we were to keep both Bagram and the embassy going, that would be a significant number of military forces that would have exceeded what we had or stayed the same or exceeded what we had. So we had to collapse one or the other, and a decision was made."
Cruz is among a handful of Republicans who have blasted Biden's decision to pull out troops from Bagram before the evacuation process started.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, for example, has called for Bagram Air Base to reopen after a suicide bomber attack at Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport killed 13 US troops and over 170 civilians on Thursday.
“I have advocated for days that the Bagram Air Base should be reopened as the Kabul airport is very difficult to defend and has been the only evacuation outlet," he tweeted.
He called the shutdown of the base "the biggest mistake" in the mayhem that the US troop withdrawal has caused in Afghanistan.
Graham's sentiment was echoed by Nebraska Senator Ben Sasses who appealed to Biden as commander-in-chief to "either rip up the 31 August deadline and defend evacuation routes – by expanding the perimeter around the Kabul Airport or by retaking Bagram – or leave our people behind in your retreat."
Tom Cotton, Senator for Arkansas, in turn, said that by closing the airfield Joe Biden did something "no one in their right mind" would have done.
Ex-US President Donald Trump has similarly blasted the way the Biden administration is handling the troop withdrawal and the evacuation efforts, and offered his view on how the matter should've been dealt with in order to minimise the chaos:
"First you bring out all of the American citizens. Then you bring out ALL equipment. Then you bomb the bases into smithereens – AND THEN YOU BRING OUT THE MILITARY. You don’t do it in reverse order like Biden and our woke Generals did. No chaos, no death – they wouldn’t even know we left!"
Top officials in the Biden administration have defended the exit before evacuations, claiming the decision was based on the recommendation of the military.
“When it comes to Bagram, the best military advice that we received was that No. 1, Bagram was an immense facility that would be difficult to secure over time and put our troops at risk. And second, it didn’t logistically make sense from an evacuation perspective because it is located outside of Kabul, and both American diplomats, American citizens, and most of the Afghans at risk live inside Kabul,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on NBC News's Meet the Press.
In early July, ​Americans sneaked out of the airfield in the middle of the night without a goodbye after nearly 20 years: Afghan military officials said they did so in secret, shutting off the electricity and leaving the facility for looters to scavenge before Afghan troops were able to take control of the base again.
While Afghans say that the Americans never consulted them before leaving the base, Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby claimed that the pullout wasn't done "in some sort of shroud of secrecy," but the exact timeline of the troops' departure was not shared beforehand with Afghan officials due to security concerns.
Bagram, which is located about 60 km from Kabul, was subsequently seized by the Taliban, who also released thousands of inmates – both fellow insurgents and Daesh* terrorists.
*The Taliban and Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, are terrorist groups banned in Russia and many other countries.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала