Republicans, outraged about the terrorist attacks in Kabul that left US personnel dead, accused President Biden of having ‘blood on his hands,’ as Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the US to take back control of Bagram airbase after reports of two explosions at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul.
‘I have advocated for days that the Bagram Air Base should be reopened as the Kabul airport is very difficult to defend and has been the only evacuation outlet,’ the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter.
‘We have the capability to reestablish our presence at Bagram to continue to evacuate American citizens and our Afghan allies. The biggest mistake in this debacle is abandoning Bagram.’
An ISIS-K suicide bomber blew himself up amid the swarms of people outside the airport Thursday, killing at least 13, including four US Marines. ISIS-K is also a sworn enemy of the Taliban.
A second explosion was reported nearby a short time later at the airport’s Abbey Gate, where crowds of Afghans have been gathering for more than a week in the hope of being put on one of the evacuation flights out.
The State Department has warned Americans to evacuate the area immediately.
‘I urge the Biden Administration to reestablish our presence in Bagram as an alternative to the Kabul airport so that we do not leave our fellow citizens and thousands of Afghan allies behind. It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,’ Graham said.
‘It is not a capability problem, but a problem of will,’ Lindsey Graham, above, said of retaking Bagram
An ISIS-K suicide bomber blew himself up amid the swarms of people outside the airport Thursday, killing at least 13, including ‘a number’ of US service members, according to the Pentagon
Smoke rises from a deadly explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday
‘The retaking of Bagram would put our military at risk, but I think those involved in the operation would gladly accept that risk because it would restore our honor as a nation and save lives.’
Lawmakers were briefed on the situation this week by Biden’s national security team.
Meanwhile, Democrat Foreign Affairs Committee chair Sen. Bob Menendez, said: ‘This is a full-fledged humanitarian crisis and US government personnel … must secure the airport.’
‘As we wait for more details to come in, one thing is clear: We can’t trust the Taliban with Americans’ security.’
House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring back the House so that lawmakers can be briefed on the situation.
‘Today’s attacks are horrific. My prayers go out to those who were injured and the families of those who were killed. I also continue to pray for the safety of our troops, the stranded American citizens, our allies and Afghan partners who remain in the area. Our enemies have taken advantage of the chaotic nature of the withdrawal,’ the California Republican said in a statement.
‘It is time for Congress to act quickly to save lives. Speaker Pelosi must bring Congress back into session before August 31 so that we can be briefed thoroughly and comprehensively by the Biden Administration and pass Representative Gallagher’s legislation prohibiting the withdrawal of our troops until every American is out of Afghanistan.’
Other lawmakers submitted an outpouring of prayers for American troops on the ground and Afghans on Twitter as they, along with the rest of the world, watch and wait to see how a series of attacks on Kabul airport unfold.
Still others demanded a forceful response and called for ‘resignations’ out of the White House. Some warned the worst could be yet to come.
Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., reupped a call for Biden to resign.
‘Biden Admin views abandoned people in Afghanistan as a political nuisance. Maybe looking at them as real people instead of ‘papers to push’ would produce rescues rather than deaths. It’s time for Biden to RESIGN NOW!!!’
‘Should Biden step down or be removed for his handling of Afghanistan? Yes,’ Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted. ‘But that would leave us with Kamala Harris which would be ten times worse. God help us.’
‘My biggest fear is these attacks today are just the beginning of what we will continue to see as the Administration fails to get Americans and our Afghan allies out and to safety,’ Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter. ‘We don’t need statements from the Administration right now – we need immediate resignations.’
‘At what point does Afghanistan turn from “Biden’s Saigon” to “Biden’s Tehran Moment?”‘ questioned Rep. Ralph Norman, R-SC. The Iran hostage crisis from 1979-1981 was considered a major failure and contributor to President Jimmy Carter’s loss in his reelection bid.
‘President @JoeBiden- you had one job. That job continues and American lives & security depend on it. Act like it,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter.
‘This is the nightmare we feared,’ said GOP Sen. Ben Sasse, Neb. ‘Mr. President, there is a clear choice before you know: either you rip up the August 31 deadline and defend evacuation routes – by expanding the perimeter around the Kabul airport or by retaking Bagram – or leave our people behind in your retreat.’
‘Mr. President, fix the mess you created. Stop running from it. We are still at war. You didn’t ‘end the war,’ you just gave the enemy new advantage. Go on offense, establish superiority, and don’t leave until all our citizens and allies are safe,’ Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted in response to the violence.
‘Earlier this week, I too called on the President of the United States to resign immediately following his haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has abdicated his responsibility and duties entrusted to him as POTUS, and he must RESIGN IMMEDIATELY,’ said GOP Rep. Byron Donalds, Fla.
‘Biden must immediately hold the Taliban accountable. The 8/31 deadline must be extended indefinitely, the enemy who perpetrated this attack must be crushed & we must make clear: Any impediment to our ops will be met with the full force of the U.S. We will leave no man behind,’ Rep. Mark Green, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter.
‘I am deeply saddened by the bombing outside of the airport in Kabul and reports of other violence. My heart goes out to those there as we learn of American and Afghan casualties from the attacks. And I am grateful for the Americans putting their lives on the line to save others,’ said Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, Ga.
Rep. Louie Gohmert called on the Pentagon to leave its weapons with resistance fighters in the north, who are made up of ex-Afghan security forces and villagers and have drove the Islamist militants out of three districts.
‘On the 20th anniversary of 9-11, Biden will have disgracefully prevented our military from protecting Americans abroad, figuratively bowing to the very bloodthirsty organization that instigated 9-11,’ Gohmert, R-Texas, said in a statement. ‘Exit Afghanistan but leave US weapons with those militia who defeated the Taliban in the north in 2001-2002,’
Scenes from the ground show injured Afghans being removed in wheelchairs. Left, a view of the explosion on Thursday
Injured Afghans flee Kabul airport after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive outside the Baron Hotel, killing multiple people and injuring at least three US troops
‘The images out of Kabul today are horrifying. Pray for our troops. Pray for the innocent Americans and Afghans targeted by this attack,’ Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter. ‘President Biden must immediately and forcefully respond to protect Americans and safely complete the evacuation.’
‘Today’s horrific events in Afghanistan were a completely preventable disaster. Pres. Biden’s aloof approach to this withdrawal has been disgraceful & the lives lost today fall squarely at his feet. After 4 years of military strength, we are seeing the consequences of elections…’ said Kansas Republican Sen. Roger Marshall.
‘A second explosion just went off in Kabul. Where is @POTUS?’ questioned Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas. ‘I have no confidence that he is up to the task. Lives are on the line and time is not on our side.’
‘When you allow terrorists and terror organizations to dictate your arbitrary deadline, the result is dangerous and disastrous for our brave military members and allies. The United States is better than this!’ said Sen. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.
‘Horrified but expected suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Officials informed Congress of likelihood of Isis K attack. Only so much you can do to stop suicide bomber,’ wrote Rep. Steve Cohen. ‘Sadly I expect more terrorist activity til last soldier leaves. As draw down ends less to little security for troops.’
‘Joe Biden has blood on his hands,’ Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, declared. ‘The buck stops with the President of the United States. This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief.’
‘Our irresponsible withdrawal from Afghanistan has tragically left the door open for chaos for those remaining and has left Americans vulnerable,’ Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., wrote on Twitter. ‘We must establish control, protect Americans and our allies, and be prepared to stay as long as needed.’
‘Urging swift action to stop this chaos & gain control. Godspeed to our brave military personnel on the ground, as we pray for their safety & that of our citizens and allies,’ said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Meanwhile, the House Problem Solvers Caucus, a conglomeration of Republicans and Democrats, wrote a letter Thursday to President Biden begging him to extend the Aug. 31 deadline.
The letter said it was ‘apparent’ from the administration’s latest briefing for lawmakers ‘that the Administration’s set date for departure from Afghanistan on August 31st does not provide enough time to evacuate all American citizens and our partners. We respectfully call on the Administration to reconsider its timeline and provide a clear plan to Congress that will result in the completion of our shared national objectives.,’ they wrote.