NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) Tuesday joined Cavuto: Coast to Coast to discuss the dire situation the President Biden left behind in Afghanistan, his recent meetings with allies in the United Kingdom and at NATO headquarters, and the need to hold the Biden Administration accountable.
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Hagerty on the position of the Taliban today: “It’s heartbreaking too, Neil, because they’re stronger than they were 20 years ago. If you think about where the Taliban stand today—it’s amazing. They’re well-armed and they’re in a better position than they were even 20 years ago, when we went into the first place to deal with this. I’ve heard from veterans across Tennessee, I just got back from a visit to the UK and to NATO to talk to our allies there. They’re all asking the same question. ‘How did we wind up in a situation where the Taliban today is stronger than they were 20 years ago?’”
Hagerty on the increased terror threat that has resulted from the botched withdrawal: “I think it’s to be expected given the vacuum that we’ve created in Afghanistan. The Taliban are now in control. They’re going to take every position, putting some of the most hardened criminals, I think, into positions of leadership and authority. This is going to create a cauldron of terror, I think, in Afghanistan. It’s going to endanger our allies in the region. They were clear to me about that in my recent trip to the UK and to NATO. It is going to put a huge refugee pressure on the region, as well, because I think the destabilization of Afghanistan is going to precipitate another great exodus of Afghan citizens as they try to flee the Taliban leaders.”
Hagerty on Secretary Blinken testifying before Congress next week: “We’re going to have Secretary Blinken in front of my committee—I serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee—next Tuesday. I fully intend to get to the bottom of this. I’ve heard the same mixed reports that you have. We still lack clarity on what’s happening there. The problem is we don’t have any presence on the ground to address it. Again, this is the precipitous fallout of a plan that wasn’t well-executed, if there was a plan at all, and I intend to get to the bottom of that as well.”
Hagerty on the Biden Admin’s calendar-driven rather than conditions-driven withdrawal: “Our mission isn’t over until we have every American safe. We’ve made promises to our allies, to folks that helped us there in Afghanistan. We left them in the lurch. Again when I was on my trip to the UK and NATO, they were very clear with me. They said it appears to us that you’ve allowed a calendar rather than conditions on the ground to dictate your actions. You’ve allowed a press release opportunity to dictate what you’re doing. They’re looking at us and saying, you’re letting domestic politics drive the national security of your nation and ours. There’s a tremendous amount of frustration about this. This is not the way to approach challenges like this. We should have based everything on the conditions on the ground. We still have a job to do there. Now, how we go about it? We’ve got to get to the bottom of it very quickly. And again, as I said, Secretary Blinken will be testifying before us on Tuesday.”
Hagerty on what he hopes to get out of hearing with Secretary Blinken: “Accountability is the overarching goal right now and oversight here. We need to find out what the plan is, we need to press hard on having an actionable plan that will work, that will help keep Americans safe, and will get the Americans that are still trapped there out, as well as our allies. That’s what we need to press hard for. And that’s what I fully intend to do.”