Gov. Greg Gianforte on Tuesday railed against the Biden administration for its handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying it abandoned American allies and left valuable military equipment behind.
Gianforte, a Republican who formerly served in the U.S. House of Representatives, said those responsible for the withdrawal should be held accountable and that all Afghan allies who aided the U.S. over the last two decades of war should be evacuated and brought to safety.
“Those responsible for this debacle should be held accountable,” Gianforte said a press briefing. “No U.S. citizen or ally should be left behind. This has been and continues to be a preventable national tragedy.”
Gianforte criticized the Biden administration for sending mixed messaged for those waiting to be evacuated. He also said he was troubled by images coming from Afghanistan, saying the nation’s citizens were facing difficult choices.
“We’ve build relationships with Afghans, particularly interpreters. We’ve come to rely on them as allies in our effort to root out terrorist safe-havens and prevent terrorist attacks here on American shores,” Gianforte said. “But our withdrawal was a poorly prepared and rushed calamity, and it leaves many of them at risk.”
Gianforte was a member of the House when former President Donald Trump made a deal with the Taliban and began a massive troop withdrawal, which the Biden administration inherited.
Trump’s agreement called for a drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with a total withdrawal intended this May. In exchange, the Taliban would halt attacks on American and coalition forces while the withdrawal was carried out.
The Biden administration has argued that the Trump-era agreement forced either a full-scale withdrawal or an escalation of war. Gianforte made no mention of the former president’s deal with the Taliban, but said the current administration had mismanaged the withdrawal.
“The world is watching in disbelief as the Biden administration’s blood-stained failure continues,” Gianforte said. “The president’s withdrawal is an national disgrace. This is the sentiment of Democrats, Republicans and Independents throughout our country.”