Senator Lindsey Graham of the United States was taken aback when he learned that President Joe Biden had yet to contact Prime Minister Imran Khan on the US-Pakistan relationship and Afghanistan.
In a Twitter thread on Tuesday, he voiced his astonishment at the scenario.
The US senator stated that the Biden administration’s choice to remove all troops and not remain involved with Pakistan is a huge disaster in the making, much worse than the Iraq mistake.
Graham questioned how the US intends to be successful in Afghanistan without working with Pakistan.” Clearly the Biden Administration believes that our problems in Afghanistan are behind us,” he wrote.
How do we expect our withdrawal from Afghanistan to be effective without coordinating with Pakistan? Clearly the Biden Administration believes that our problems in Afghanistan are behind us.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 22, 2021
President Biden’s reluctance to interact with Pakistani officials was underlined in an interview given by Prime Minister Khan to an American television station earlier this week when the reporter asked him whether he had talked to Biden since assuming office. The prime minister replied, “No, I have not.”
“Is there a reason for that?” the interviewer asked. “Whenever he has time, he can speak to me. But now, clearly, he has other priorities,” the prime minister said.
According to Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby, the US military’s departure from Afghanistan may be slowed as a result of the Taliban’s advances.
President Joe Biden’s goal of a complete withdrawal by September remains in force, according to Kirby, although the pace may be modified depending on circumstances.
“The situation in Afghanistan changes as the Taliban continue to conduct these attacks and to raid district centers as well as the violence, which is still too high,” he told reporters.
“If there need to be changes made to the pace, or to the scope and scale of the retrograde, on any given day or in any given week, we want to maintain the flexibility to do that,” he said.
“We’re constantly taking a look at this, every single day: what´s the situation on the ground, what capabilities do we have, what additional resources do we need to move out of Afghanistan, and at what pace.”
“All of these decisions are literally being made in real-time,” he added.
According to Pentagon officials, the pullout, which was ordered by Biden in April after almost two decades of battling Al-Qaeda and assisting government troops in their war against the Taliban, is about half-finished.
Around 2,500 US soldiers and 16,000 contractors, mainly US residents, were in the nation at the time of Biden’s decision. Several of the Pentagon’s major sites have already been handed over to government security personnel, and hundreds of cargo aircraft loads of equipment have been evacuated.
Kirby said that US soldiers are still assisting Afghan troops in their battle against the Taliban.
“So long as we have the capability in Afghanistan, we will continue to provide assistance to Afghan forces,” he said.
“But as the retrograde gets closer to completion, those capabilities will wane and will no longer be available.”