Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) says that US return to Afghanistan is likely as the situation of ground in getting chaotic as anti-Taliban riots remain unabated and in fact are getting more intense day by day. As the Taliban declared its new interim government members, raging protests and severe defiance have erupted from the Afghan people who accuse the Taliban for not presenting an “inclusive government” it had pledged.
Senator Graham’s statement to the BBC news is a new development in the US-Afghanistan story as he talks about US likely return despite the recently declared end of nearly two decades of American military presence in the country.
Read more: Taliban unveil new acting Afghan government members amid protests
US might return to Afghanistan as threat is too large, says the senator
Graham, in an interview Monday with the BBC, predicted a looming clash between the Taliban and extremist groups such as the Islamic State would necessitate American military action in the country. “We will be going back into Afghanistan,” Graham said. “We’ll have to, because the threat will be so large.”
He said that Afghanistan “will be a cauldron for radical Islamic behavior,” presenting the United States with only two options: “You can say that’s no longer my problem … or hit them before they hit you.”
US return to Afghanistan may not have public approval
Graham has long advocated for an aggressive campaign against the Islamic State. But public polling shows that the American public has little appetite for prolonging the conflict.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll last week found that Americans overwhelmingly supported President Biden’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan. However what they disapproved of was how he executed this withdrawal. The Republicans, especially former US President Trump’s statement that Biden’s exit strategy from Afghanistan is “botched” which brought “greatest foreign policy humiliation” to the US showed that Biden’s opponents minced no words to criticized his exit strategy from Afghanistan.
Regarding the war in Afghanistan, the general consensus was such that the a majority in a Post-ABC News poll said the war was worth fighting was in late 2009, and then just a narrow 52 percent majority said so, with Republicans more likely than Democrats or independents to say the war, which began under Republican President George W. Bush, was worth the cost.
Read more: Biden’s Afghan exit plunges his approval ratings; Reuters/Ipsos poll
Keeping check on future terrorism
Graham has visited Afghanistan several times, including with Biden in 2009, more than a decade earlier.
“The Taliban are not reformed, they’re not new,” Graham said. “They’re going to give safe haven to al-Qaeda who have ambitions to drive us out of the mid-east writ large, and attack us because of our way of life.” Graham explains his statement as to why US might return to Afghanistan as he fears that the territory will be used again for terrorism.
He also compared the Afghan conflict to ongoing fighting in Syria and Iraq, which continue to draw in American troops, largely due to the presence of Islamic State.
The Islamic State offshoot is deemed a more extreme rival of the Taliban by regional experts, who say the Taliban could try to root out the group, although others remain skeptical.
Read more: Kabul airport carnage braces US for more attacks: US Central Command chief