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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) applauded President Joe Biden on Saturday for his handling of the war in Afghanistan, shortly before reports began surfacing that the Taliban had replaced the formal government of the country.
“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action,” Pelosi’s statement read in part. “The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions. We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls.”
The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and his action. The Taliban must know the world is watching its actions. We are concerned about reports regarding the Taliban’s brutal treatment of all Afghans, especially women and girls.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 15, 2021
Pelosi posted a portion of her statement on Twitter again Sunday. At around the same time, local media began reporting that the Afghan government was handing the country over to the Taliban, which ruled the country before the U.S. invasion in 2001. The Taliban’s jihadi leaders have ties to al-Qaeda, the international jihadist organization responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that prompted the American invasion.
The terrorist group allegedly seized at least 85 percent of the country between May 1 and this month. More recently, the Taliban reportedly appropriated U.S. military equipment left behind by Afghan soldiers.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, local reports alleged.
After two decades and more than 2,500 U.S. soldiers killed, former President Donald Trump agreed to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, in a negotiation with the Taliban. In exchange, the Taliban agreed to not attack U.S. troops and to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other international terrorist groups.
Biden announced in April he would not abide by the agreement and extended the Afghan war by four months, making the new withdrawal date the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He then revised the date, announcing American military presence would end on August 31. Biden ordered the deployment of another 5,000 troops into Afghanistan this weekend, jeopardizing the August 31 deadline.
In her statement, Pelosi emphasized the need to protect women and girls from the Taliban while maintaining praise for Biden. The Taliban has a history of torturing and murdering women for not complying with their interpretation of Islamic law or sharia.
Pelosi continued in part:
Any political settlement that the Afghans pursue to avert bloodshed must include having women at the table. The fate of women and girls in Afghanistan is critical to the future of Afghanistan. As we strive to assist women, we must recognize that their voices are important, and all must listen to them for solutions, respectful of their culture. There is bipartisan support to assist the women and girls of Afghanistan. One of the successes of U.S.- NATO cooperation in Afghanistan was the progress made by women and girls. We must all continue to work together to ensure that is not eroded.
The Taliban began allegedly “going door-to-door” in some regions of Afghanistan last week to select girls as young as 12 years old to become “sex slaves” for the group’s jihadi fighters, News Corp Australia’s News.com.au reported Thursday.
Documented Taliban killing and torturing of those who disagree with their rule has also surfaced. Taliban jihadists assassinated a senior Afghan government official, top media and information officer Dawa Khan Menapal, in early August. That same week, the Afghan government confirmed the Taliban murder of Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui in July.
At the end of her statement, Pelosi praised Biden’s “clarity of purpose” for a second time:
Once again, I want to acknowledge the clarity of purpose of President Biden’s statement and the wisdom of his actions. Congress shares the President’s concern for Afghans who have assisted U.S. efforts in-country, and we passed Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) legislation to provide for their relocation on a strong, bipartisan basis.
Most of all, we join the President in acknowledging the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families.
Republicans and House GOP members have called Biden’s Afghanistan policy the next “Saigon,” referring to when President Gerald Ford pulled out U.S. troops from South Vietnam, effectively delivering the country into the hands of communist guerilla troops that remain the rulers of that country today.
“This is Joe Biden’s Saigon,” Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) tweeted on Sunday.
“A disastrous failure on the international stage that will never be forgotten – meanwhile Joe is on vacation,” she continued, referring to Biden’s five-day retreat at Camp David.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the blame is squarely on Biden for the disaster unfolding in Afghanistan.
“President Biden owns this mess — the blood is on his hands. He had a choice; instead of choosing the responsible approach, he chose to rely on political polls, not data from his military leaders and the intelligence community about the conditions on the ground,” he said in a statement Sunday.