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House GOP: Biden risks having 'blood of Americans' on his hands by sticking to exit deadline

"America is going to face al Qaeda 3.0," said Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan.

Updated: August 25, 2021 - 7:39am

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House Republican lawmakers warn that President Biden risks having the "blood of Americans" on his hands by sticking to an Aug. 31 deadline for withdraw from Afghanistan.

"Our offices right now are operation centers, calling gate guards, calling the Kabul airport, guiding people through, telling them how to avoid Taliban checkpoints," said Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, during a news conference on Tuesday.

"It's unbelievable, the lack of leadership," he added. "So I 100% agree that blood is and will be on Joe Biden's hands and this Congress will hold him accountable."

Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Bates, also an Afghanistan war veteran, made similar comments about Biden's handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and, specifically, his abandonment of large stockpiles of intact U.S. weaponry to the Taliban.

"Let me be very clear: If any American is harmed, injured or killed and not safely evacuated out of Afghanistan, or if any of these weapons or this military equipment is used to harm, injure or kill an American now or at any time in the future, the blood is on Joe Biden's hands," Bates said.

The Taliban recently said the U.S. must stick to the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline amid calls from lawmakers and other countries such as the United Kingdom to change the timeline for the evacuation. Biden announced on Tuesday he is sticking with the Aug. 31 deadline.

House Republican lawmakers cautioned the White House that Al-Qaeda is still operating in Afghanistan, despite Biden recently saying Al-Qaeda is gone in the country.

"America is going to face al Qaeda 3.0," said Waltz. "The intelligence community has been clear and has briefed us repeatedly, that the Taliban taking over means al Qaeda 3.0 comes roaring back. Except now we're in a worse position than we were before 2001. We have no bases in the region."

GOP lawmakers said the U.S. has virtually no intelligence capabilities in Afghanistan now.

"We have given up our ability to collect intel at the most dangerous point in Afghanistan's history," said Texas GOP Rep. Tony Gonzales, also a veteran of the Afghanistan war. "I'd argue right now is more dangerous to Americans than the first day we went in 2001.

"Why? Because we have no intelligence. This administration has given up the high ground on intelligence when we are trying to extract Americans. It is absolutely unacceptable." 

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