- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2022

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that the U.S. is more vulnerable to a 9/11-style terrorist attack following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

His grim assessment coincided with the first anniversary of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from the country after two decades of war.

“We are more likely to be attacked like New York City was 20-some years ago, we’re more likely to be attacked from [Afghanistan] today than we were just one year ago,” Mr. Pompeo said during a Sunday appearance on the “Cats Roundtable” radio program.



He piled on to the criticism of President Biden who many blame for Afghanistan‘s fall to the Taliban amid the calamitous U.S. pullout that left behind hundreds of American citizens and thousands of vulnerable Afghan refugees when U.S. troops scrambled to meet Mr. Biden‘s self-imposed withdrawal deadline.

“We are now one year from what everybody saw with their own eyes: Americans left behind,” Mr. Pompeo said. “The Afghan people clinging to American aircraft as we turned tail and ran out of that country.”

“To have had that debacle embarrass our country on the world stage, made us less safe, convinced Putin that he could begin his aggressive conduct in Ukraine,” he added.

The withdrawal and its aftermath left a lasting blemish on Mr. Biden‘s foreign policy record, and lawmakers continue to press for accountability from the administration.

Mr. Biden on Friday marked the first anniversary of a suicide bombing at the airport in Kabul during the pullout, releasing a statement honoring the 13 U.S. service members killed in the attack.

Mr. Biden said the “heinous attack” offered a “painful reminder that there is nothing low cost or low grade about war,” which echoed his justification for ending the 20-year military operation in Afghanistan.

The attack, which also killed at least 170 Afghans and wounded 45 U.S. service members, was a jarring display of the chaos that had unfolded as the U.S. scrambled to evacuate hundreds of U.S. citizens and thousands of desperate Afghans who flooded the Hamid Karzai International Airport attempting to flee the country.

Afghanistan had quickly fallen into the hands of the Taliban just weeks before the Aug. 31, 2021, withdrawal deadline.

The attack became a symbol of what Mr. Biden‘s critics said was his failure to prepare for the withdrawal.

Mr. Biden dismissed much of the criticism. In his statement Friday, he highlighted the costs of the two-decade war in which 2,461 U.S. troops were killed and 20,744 were wounded.

Mr. Biden also vowed to maintain pressure on terrorist factions that remain in Afghanistan, highlighting the U.S. drone strike in Kabul last month that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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