Hillary Clinton Has A Warning For Joe Biden

While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has supported the Biden administration since his election in November 2020, she's now speaking out about some of the decisions he has made in his first days in the Oval Office. 

President Joe Biden announced in April 2021 that he plans on removing all American troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, ending what he dubbed a "forever war" that began in the wake of the terrorist attacks over 20 years. Per the AP, right after he announced the plan to begin removing the remaining 2,500 soldiers in the country, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels said the alliance would also begin removing the other 7,000 armed forces from the country as well, meaning that Afghanistan would no longer have an international armed presence on the ground. 

According to The New York Times, the two decades-long presence in Afghanistan has greatly reduced the power of the Taliban, but it came with the massive loss of over $2 trillion and the death of 2,400 American troops. Democrats lauded the decision for that reason. "The U.S. went into Afghanistan in 2001 to defeat those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11," Virginia Senator (and former vice-presidential hopeful) Tim Kaine said in a statement. "It is now time to bring our troops home, maintain humanitarian and diplomatic support for a partner nation, and refocus American national security on the most pressing challenges we face." 

But has the mission really been accomplished? Clinton is not so sure. 

Hillary Clinton had some things to say about Joe Biden

President Joe Biden had to make a hard choice when it comes to pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Hillary Clinton has some thoughts about it all. She told CNN that she didn't envy his position. "This is what we call a wicked problem," Clinton explained (via Yahoo! News). "You know there are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving. The president has made the decision to leave."  

She then noted that there are two major consequences of pulling out of the country. One is that Kabul could collapse and the Taliban could again regain power, the prevention of which was the sole motive of American and NATO forces being in Afghanistan in the first place. The other consequence is that the pullout would be a signal to terrorist groups worldwide that America was no longer on the job. "I mean 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," Clinton said. 

Per Axios, Clinton and fellow former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had also said to some members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that they were concerned about the move as well, worrying that American troops would eventually have to go back anyway. Both Clinton and Rice supported military interventions in Afghanistan throughout their tenures at the Department of State. 

Biden's team says they are prepared

Although Hillary Clinton and others are concerned about President Joe Biden's decision to begin removing troops from Afghanistan in May 2021, the White House does not seem too worried about it. Current Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a 60 Minutes interview that they understood the concern but had looked at it from all angles. "Just because our troops are coming home doesn't mean we're leaving. We're not," he said. "Our embassy's staying, the support that we're giving to Afghanistan when it comes to — economic support, development, humanitarian, that — that remains. And not only from us, from partners and allies." 

A statement from the White House echoed the sentiment: "The United States will remain vigilant about the threat from terrorist groups that have metastasized around the world. We will continue to monitor and disrupt any threat to us that emerges from Afghanistan. And we will work to counter terrorist threats to our homeland and our interests in cooperation with allies and partners around the world." 

It will not be an easy task to remove American forces from the country, and no one can predict the future. But it does sound like the Biden administration will have plenty of advice from experts like Clinton and Condaleeza Rice in the future should something go very awry.