House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday defended President Joe Biden’s decision to maintain the date of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and criticized the two lawmakers who flew to Kabul for the risks taken.
At a press conference from Capitol Hill, Pelosi acknowledged that “many members of Congress” supported keeping troops in the Asian country longer, but said Biden has to “weigh the danger against the benefits.”
“I trust his judgment,” she said of the president’s decision, which has drawn widespread criticism for the chaotic scenes at Kabul airport, where thousands of people are crowding to try to leave Afghanistan.
Biden said Tuesday that the United States is “on track” to complete the evacuation and withdrawal from Afghanistan by the Aug. 31 deadline, although he warned that much depends on the Taliban, who have regained power in the country, even though thousands of Americans remain in Afghanistan and are likely to be left behind.
At Tuesday’s virtual G7 meeting on the Afghanistan crisis, Biden rejected a request by the United Kingdom and other countries to extend the deadline for evacuations, accommodating the terms imposed by the Taliban.
Separately, Pelosi chided the recent unannounced trip by two lawmakers, Democrat Seth Moulton and Republican Peter Meijer, to Afghanistan for what she considers associated risks.
“It was not, in my opinion, a good idea. This is terribly serious. We don’t want members of Congress going,” the Democratic leader told reporters.
The withdrawal from Kabul has been widely criticized and condemned as one of the worst military humiliations suffered by the United States, both by leaders of the Republican Party and the governing Democratic Party, as well as by much of civil society.