Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) during a House Republican Leadership press conference, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney on Tuesday criticized plans by the Biden administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan before this year’s 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The planned troop withdrawals would mark the United States’ exit from a nearly two-decade long conflict in the Middle Eastern country set off by attacks orchestrated by extremists in the desert nation.

It is the longest war in U.S. history. Some 2,500 U.S. troops and another 7,000-plus NATO forces would be affected.

“President Biden’s decision hands the Taliban and al Qaeda a propaganda victory, abandons our global leadership position, and plays into our adversaries’ hands,” Cheney said in a statement. “As we saw with President Obama’s reckless decision to pull troops out of Iraq in 2011, retreat does not end the fight against terrorism. It merely gives our enemies more room to reconstitute and plot attacks against the homeland.”

Public support for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is mixed. However, a majority of Americans favor ending the U.S. military’s involvement under a hypothetical presidential authorization, according to polling data. War-weary officials in the Trump and Biden administrations have called for a drawdown of troops there with Trump setting and Biden now extending a May 1 withdrawal deadline. Some troops would remain to guard the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“We’ve long known that military force would not solve Afghanistan’s internal political challenges, would not end Afghanistan’s internal conflict,” a senior Biden official told reporters, according to a readout of the announcement furnished by the White House. “And so we are ending our military operations while we focus our efforts on supporting, diplomatically, the ongoing peace process.

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But Cheney — as well as many in the larger intelligence community — disagrees, warning a de-escalation of the military presence there could destabilize slowly developing efforts toward peace.

The former State Department official’s foreign policy stances have created friction with members of both parties, including former president Trump. Those stances have occasionally drawn criticism from lawmakers in Wyoming and have contrasted with other members of Wyoming’s delegation. Sen. Cynthia Lummis broke with her own Republican party to praise Biden’s withdrawal plans.

“I wish the Biden Administration had kept to President Trump’s May 1 deadline, but I am pleased our troops are coming home,” Lummis said in a statement Wednesday. 

Some U.S. officials have argued withdrawing from the country too early could leave a power vacuum, leaving the door open for adversaries like Iran and Russia to fill the void. Meanwhile both sides in Afghanistan remain mired in conflict despite ongoing peace talks.

But the move also represents the dismantling of a policy of intervention in the Middle East established decades earlier while Cheney’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, served as Secretary of Defense.

The elder Cheney has been considered by many – including his former boss, George H.W. Bush – as a chief architect of the current conflicts in the Middle East. As Defense Secretary in the early 1990s, Cheney oversaw U.S. forces in an invasion of Iraq under Operation Desert Storm. Some believe that exacerbated tensions in the region and laid the groundwork for the extremist attacks that occurred in the following decade. 

The potential for resurgent terrorist threats in Afghanistan remain high, according to government officials, which many cite as reason to keep troops there. 

Withdrawing too early could haunt the U.S., Rep. Cheney said.

“Wars don’t end when one side abandons the fight,” Cheney said in the statement. “Withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan by September 11 will only embolden the very jihadists who attacked our homeland on that day twenty years ago. By declaring that this withdrawal is not based on conditions on the ground, the Biden Administration is sending a dangerous signal that the United States fundamentally does not understand — or is willfully ignorant of — the terrorist threat.” 

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  1. The outcome in Afghanistan is regrettable.

    But remember: We were there to crush Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. That was done years ago.

    Now the US has other problems to solve: If we’re to be militarily involved in foreign countries, I nominate Venezuela or any of the various Central American failed states.

    We Americans urgently need to stabilize our own backyard.

    I’m not saying direct military involvement is the best option. But an unending, unwinnable war on the other side of the globe is a drain on resources that we simply can no longer afford.

    1. The nations to our south are not our “backyard”. They are sovereign countries in whose affairs the US has been meddling and calling the shots for far too long, all for the sake of our greedy, resource-plundering, robber-baron class. A huge portion of their problems resulted from the arrogant, overbearing, condescending attitudes of the dying monster to the north. We are NOT “entitled” to tell them what to do. Better that we clean house here at home, in the land we took by force, not all that long ago, before it’s too late for us…and it may already be too late.

      1. Harvey: The US has done reprehensible things in Central/South America. That much is true.

        But most US meddling in the region ended 40 years ago and longer. The problems I’m talking about now concern the here and now – today.

        The simple fact is that many of the places you call “sovereign countries” are failed states run by criminal enterprises – typically 3 way alliances between drug cartels, state security forces, and the civil governments at state and federal levels. I’m talking about Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Venezuela, and increasingly, Mexico and some of the smaller countries of South America.

        In most of these countries, the leadership DOES NOT WANT to solve the migration crisis because 1: The migration itself is enormously profitable 2. The conditions that cause migration (gangland control of the population) are too profitable and 3. Attempts to seriously curtail gang activity are too often fatal to the government officials who try it.
        (As an aside: The same dynamic exists with the illegal drug trade. The local leadership does not want to solve it. For this reason, the “War on Drugs” will never be won – at least not by us.)

        As a result, there are probably 100 million people south of our border, possibly far more, who would migrate here if the opportunity arose, legally or otherwise.

        Our society can’t handle that.

        So our choices are to wallow in guilt about things our country did 40+ years ago, or realistically assess what we need to be doing today and try to get on with it.

        In my opinion (obviously subject to debate) we are in fact “entitled” to protect ourselves against conditions to our south – so long as we do so in good faith towards the common people.

        1. “But most US meddling in the region ended 40 years ago and longer. The problems I’m talking about now concern the here and now – today.”

          Disagree.

          Our meddling has been continuous in Central and South America, right up to the present. The countries to our south are NOT part of our backyard. They are sovereign nations in whose business we have NO right to be poking our snotty, self-entitled noses.

          In recent years our idiot “leaders” connived against Chavez. Even Obama, somewhat moderate conservative that he was, and is, considered Venezuela a threat to our national security, which is really a stretch, would be even for a far-right conservative.

          The US supported (and probably aided…clandestinely, of course) the coup against Morales in Bolivia only two years ago; after all, the robber barons need lithium for their electric car batteries, cars that ultimately run on petroleum, coal, and natural gas. And, of course, our continuous sanctioning against Cuba still continues, 60 years after “our” man, Batista, was deposed by revolutionaries, led by Fidel Castro. Cuba still survives and does quite well considering the sanctions imposed against it by the monster to its west.

          Name me an instance when our meddling in the affairs of our neighbors to the south was on behalf of the “common people”, except in government rhetoric, propaganda, and outright lies. Chavez, an ELECTED leader, actually made substantial progress toward improving life for common people in Venezuela, as, to a lesser degree, did Morales during his early years as the ELECTED leader of Bolivia.

          Our government, rethuglican or democrapic, exists only to serve the needs of the robber baron class that owns it. I have far more fear of the increasingly fascist state the US is becoming than I have fear of immigration. Fear of immigration is just another conservative way of demonstrating an inherent racism and xenophobia, particularly against those with skins darker than lily white.

  2. Wyoming’s unemployment rate in April , 2019, was 3.6%.
    That 1 Billion dollars from the federal gov’t was from us in the first place.

    Liz Cheney and other global elites make a lot of money off wars and the people who have to fight in them.
    All should be required to send their kids.

  3. Meanwhile, under President Biden, Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to drop and vaccination rates continue to increase for Wyoming residents while deaths for covid continue to drop.
    Even better, President Biden has made sure that Wyoming will get over a billion dollars to help them in their financial fix.
    And Liz Chaney says 20 years of a losing war in Afghanistan should be continued. “daddy says…..”

    1. “Meanwhile, under President Biden, Wyoming’s unemployment rate continues to drop and vaccination rates continue to increase for Wyoming residents while deaths for covid continue to drop.
      Even better, President Biden has made sure that Wyoming will get over a billion dollars to help them in their financial fix.”

      Not sure what the above has to do with the topic but the last sentence hones in:
      And Liz Chaney says 20 years of a losing war in Afghanistan should be continued. “daddy says…..”

      Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the neo-cons are thankful that we have an all volunteer force because if there were a draft as in the Vietnam era this “war” would have been over a long time ago.