NEW YORK: Hillary Clinton has warned the US will face ‘huge consequences’ from President Joe Biden‘s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
The former secretary of state voiced her disapproval publicly for the first time in an interview with CNN as violence erupted immediately after the US formally launched its withdrawal of 2,500 troops and began handing control back to the Afghan government.
Asked by CNN‘s Fareed Zakaria what she thought of the withdrawal decision, Clinton said: ‘Well, it’s been made. And I know it is a very difficult decision.
‘This is what we call a wicked problem. You know there are consequences both foreseen and unintended of staying and of leaving. The president has made the decision to leave.’ Clinton said the US should be prepared for ‘two huge consequences’ – a collapse of the Afghan government and takeover by the Taliban, and a subsequent outpouring of refugees.
Her comments to CNN came two days after Axios reported that both she and Condoleezza Rice, who served as secretary of state under George W Bush, had voiced concerns over the withdrawal to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Explaining the two consequences she foresaw to CNN, Clinton said: ‘One, the potential collapse of the Afghan government and a takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, probably with a resumption of civil war in certain parts of the country, but a largely Taliban-run government at some point in the not-too-distant future.
‘How do we help and protect the many, many thousands of Afghans who worked with the United States and NATO, who worked with American and other NATO-connected contractors who stood up and spoke out for women’s rights and human rights.
‘I hope that the administration in concert with the Congress will have a very large visa program and will begin immediately to try to provide that channel for so many Afghans to utilize so that they are not left in danger.
‘There will also be, I fear, a huge refugee outflow. And of course the second big set of problems revolves around a resumption of activities by global terrorist groups, most particularly Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.’