Following President Joe Biden's announcement that he will follow through with his predecessor's plans to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan completely, former President Donald Trump issued a statement saying the new administration is moving too slowly.
Biden announced that he was targeting September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to remove U.S. troops. Trump said there is no reason to delay his previous date of May 1, nor to turn September 11th into anything but a "day of reflection."
"I wish Joe Biden wouldn't use September 11th as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons," an emailed statement from Trump read. "First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact, far too much and way too long. I made early withdraw possible by already pulling much of our billions of dollars of equipment out and, more importantly, reducing our military presence to less than 2,000 troops from the 16,000 level that was there (likewise in Iraq, and zero troops in Syria except for the area where we KEPT THE OIL)."
Trump cited the solemnity of 9/11 as the second reason Biden should not move forward with his new timeline.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss the Biden plan, saying that "no one" can say whether U.S. withdrawal will lead to a resurgence of Islamic militants in the volatile country.
"All the United States could do is provide the Afghan security forces, the Afghan government, and the Afghan people resources and capabilities, training and equipping their forces, providing assistance to their government," Sullivan said. "We have done that, and now, it is time for American troops to come home and the Afghan people to step up to defend their own country."
The United States maintains nearly 3,500 military personnel in Afghanistan, comprised of 2,500 troops and 1,000 special forces.