Trump says Biden's plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan is a 'wonderful and positive thing to do'
- Donald Trump said President Joe Biden's plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan later this year is a "wonderful and positive thing to do."
- He urged the president to withdraw the troops even sooner.
- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that he "could not disagree more," with the former president.
Former President Donald Trump has praised President Joe Biden's plan to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan as a "wonderful and positive thing to do," drawing criticism from some Republicans.
Trump praised the decision, but urged the president to pull troops out before the symbolic September 11 deadline, which marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks which prompted the start of US involvement in a decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.
"Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do. I planned to withdraw on May 1st, and we should keep as close to that schedule as possible," Trump said in a statement on Sunday.
He added: "I wish Joe Biden wouldn't use September 11th as the date to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for two reasons."
"First, we can and should get out earlier. Nineteen years is enough, in fact far too much and way too long [...] Secondly, September 11th represents a very sad event and period for our country and should remain a day of reflection and remembrance honoring those great souls we lost."
-Benny (@bennyjohnson) April 18, 2021
Trump's praise for the pullout drew condemnation from Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who tweeted that "I could not disagree more," with the former president.
"With all due respect to former President Trump, there is nothing 'wonderful' or 'positive' about allowing safe havens and sanctuary for terrorists to reemerge in Afghanistan or see Afghanistan be drawn back into another civil war," he tweeted.
There are an estimated 3,500 US troops currently serving in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported.
Biden formally announced his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, saying it was "time to end America's longest war."
"I'm now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth," he said.
Lawmakers have been divided on the wisdom of the move. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the plan was "careful and thought-out" but several top Republicans condemned it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the plan, saying US troops in Afghanistan had "helped keep radical Islamic terrorism in check."
"Apparently, we're to help our adversaries ring in the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by gift-wrapping the country and handing it right back to them," McConnell said.
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