President Joe Biden should adhere to the agreement former President Donald Trump made with the Taliban to completely withdraw American forces from Afghanistan, a veteran of the war and foreign policy expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
Biden should stick with the agreement because it is good for America and because he could face political backlash for making the war his own by keeping troops in Afghanistan, Foreign Policy expert at Stand Together William Ruger told the DCNF. Stand Together is a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Virginia.
“I think President Biden should follow the agreement we have with the Taliban,” Ruger told the DCNF. “Unfortunately, we haven’t withdrawn before now. We have really punished the Taliban for its state support to Al Qaeda, we have decimated Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.”
WATCH: @adamnoahwho urges Biden to resist pressure to unilaterally blow off US-Taliban agreement, leaving troops in Afghanistan past May 1. READ: https://t.co/fC0G2P6UuP @defpriorities @DanDePetris @ConcernedVets @dandcaldwell @SkepticalVet pic.twitter.com/QRYJfh5Pkt
— Responsible Statecraft (@RStatecraft) February 12, 2021
If Biden follows through he would be able to say that he’s sticking to commitments the U.S. already made since he was critical of the Trump administration for pulling out of Obama-era deals, Ruger said. Biden doesn’t currently “own the war” in Afghanistan the way Trump does, but choosing to leave American forces in the country after May will make it his war.
“We have accomplished what we need to, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be possible in any kind of cost-effective way to meet the more expanded goals. We need to come to terms with that and withdraw,” Ruger told the DCNF.
U.S. forces should have withdrawn from Afghanistan after the killing of Osama bin Laden when al Qaida had been wiped out and the U.S. had “accomplished what we needed to,” Ruger told the DCNF. “We didn’t lose the war we needed to fight. We have lost a war that was unnecessary.”
“We have actually handed the Taliban a PR victory in that sense. We would have been much better off to have left on our own terms when it was propitious to do so, and I would have said that was well before now,” Ruger told the DCNF.
Nearly 70% of veterans support a full withdrawal from Afghanistan and 53% of the general population surveyed by the Concerned Veterans for America said. “It is best for us to leave,” Ruger told the DCNF.
A Congressional panel recommended that the Biden administration delay the withdrawal since the Taliban has not held up their end of the deal, The Hill reported. The agreement included the Taliban disassociating with al Qaida.
“There are two types of delays you can have. One would be a delay that is negotiated with the Taliban and another is one that is unilateral, which we say either we’re breaking the deal because the administration doesn’t feel it’s in our interest or we’re delaying because we think the Taliban has not lived up to the deal,” Ruger told the DCNF.
“An agreement with the Taliban to extend will require concessions on the part of the U.S,” Ruger told the DCNF. “The deal we got was as good as we were going to get.”