By Masooma Haq
The former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Friday said if President Joe Biden leaves U.S. citizens and allies in Afghanistan, based on the Constitution, he deserves to be impeached.
“We’re duty-bound to get every American citizen out. We’re honor-bound to get those Afghans who fought along our side out,” said Graham during a Friday interview with Fox News, adding, “And here’s what I would say. If we leave any Americans behind, if we leave thousands of those Afghans who fought along our side behind, bravely, Joe Biden deserves to be impeached for a higher crime and misdemeanor, of dereliction of duty.”
Meanwhile, Biden told reporters on Friday that he will evacuate every U.S. citizen who wants to leave the country.
“Any American that wants to come home, we will get you home,” Biden said at the White House in Washington. He made a similar pledge to Afghan allies who helped the United States.
Estimates from the government of how many Americans are stranded in Afghanistan have ranged from 5,000 to 15,000. Officials have said they’re not sure of the number in part because Americans do not have to report to the government when they travel to foreign countries.
The British and French governments have sent troops into the interior of Afghanistan to extract their citizens, while the United States has its troops in and around the airport in Kabul, to protect those who can reach the airport and get out on flights.
Graham told Fox News that the U.S. military should do what countries like the UK and France are doing, and go into Afghanistan for the specific purpose of getting those U.S. citizens out who cannot get to the airport because the Taliban is threatening their lives.
“The French and the British are willing to send their forces inside of Afghanistan to extract the people who helped them and their citizens,” said Graham. “I think the commander in chief owes it to every American citizen and owes it to the Afghans who fought along our side to get them out because if we leave them behind, they’re going to get slaughtered,” Graham said.
Biden however, said that U.S. citizens can get to the Kabul airport.
“We have no indication that they haven’t been able to get through Kabul to the airport,” Biden said. “To the best of our knowledge, Taliban checkpoints, they are letting through people showing American passports.”
The Taliban has warned America to fully withdraw by Sept. 11, or face consequences. Without mentioning a date, Biden said he will get all U.S. citizens out.
“I cannot promise what the final outcome will be or that it will be without risk of loss. But as commander in chief, I can assure you that I will mobilize every resource necessary,” Biden said.
Since Aug. 14, U.S. military flights have taken 12,000 people out, many of which have been Afghans. Others have left on private charter flights, according to the White House.
Biden made the final decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but shortly after the troops exited and the main airbase in Bagram was closed, the Pentagon was forced to send 6,000 soldiers to the beleaguered country to facilitate evacuations from Kabul, which was quickly captured by the Taliban on Sunday.
The Biden administration has faced widespread criticism for how his office handled the pullout and evacuation, with some likening it to previous military failures such as the 1975 fall of Saigon. Meanwhile, the sudden arrival of the Taliban sparked panic and triggered mass waves of people at the Kabul airport, as many hoped they could be airlifted out of Afghanistan.
Jack Phillips and Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.