Just over 14 years ago in 2007, Joe Biden — when he was running for president warned about the dangers of hastily removing U.S. troops out of Iraq while leaving behind “billions of dollars of weapons” would one day end up being used against America.
During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Biden, who was then-senator from Delaware, commented about withdrawing troops from Iraq while speaking at a campaign event in Winterset, Iowa.
“There’s a lot at stake in how we end this war,” Biden told Madison County Democrats in a campaign town hall in August 2007. “It makes a big difference to tell the American people the truth in what our options are to end this war.”
Biden noted it would take a year to get American troops “physically out” of Iraq.
“If tomorrow, I’m president of the United States and the order goes out to end the war today, began to withdraw all American troops,” Biden said. “It would take a year to get the American troops out. You hear me now? That’s the truth. It will take a year to get them physically out.”
“If you leave all the equipment behind, you might be able to do it in seven months,” he added. “If you leave those billions of dollars in weapons behind, I promise, they’re going to be used against your grandchild and mine someday.”
Fast forward to 2021, Biden, when he finally became president after his third bid, would do precisely what he warned against just years prior. Biden’s ill-fated decision to pull out all American troops from Afghanistan, ignoring recommendations from his military advisors, would become one of America’s most embarrassing moments in history.
The president in April pledged a timeline to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by Sept 11, where there were about 3,500 US troops in Afghanistan at that time. Despite the growing threat from the Taliban. Biden administration moved faster than anticipated with the process, as the drawdown was more than 90% complete by early July. However, the ill-planned troop withdrawal saw the U.S. military vacating Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan’s largest airfield, apparently failing to notify their Afghan counterparts that they had left the base.
In August, the Taliban rapidly took over nearly all of Afghanistan, with the collapse of the Afghan government leaving the Biden Administration to rush nearly 6,000 U.S. troops back to Kabul to assist in the evacuation of U.S. personnel and Afghan allies. The following three weeks saw the hastily botched withdrawal handling, leaving hundreds if not thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies behind and causing 13 U.S. service members to be killed in the final days. On top of that, Biden also left behind a parting gift to the Taliban — $85 billion worth of military equipment.
The Taliban, who were able to take over the majority of Afghanistan much faster than Washington had anticipated, were able to seize nearly $85 billion of assorted U.S. weapons as a result. The Islamic militant is now fully armed with crates of new assault rifles, rockets, 2,000 armored vehicles, 40 aircraft, including UH-60 Black Hawks, military drones, and night-vision goggles.
Between 2003 and 2016, the U.S. gave the Afghan military an estimated $28 billion in weaponry. A Government Accountability Office report in 2017, the U.S. transferred roughly 75,898 vehicles, 599,690 weapons systems, and 208 aircraft to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). From 2017 to 2019, according to a report last year from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the U.S. gave 7,035 machine guns, 4,702 Humvees, 20,040 hand grenades, 2,520 bombs, and 1,394 grenade launchers.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitted the U.S. weaponry was in the Taliban’s possession, telling reporters that the Biden administration currently does not “have a complete picture” of what “has fallen into the hands of the Taliban.”
Biden’s 2007 prediction did end up coming to fruition under his presidency but failed to take any responsibility for the botched withdrawal. Based on his comment, heading to 2022, our children and grandchildren are now at risk.