Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis has expressed security concerns over the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as the United States began the final withdrawal of troops there on Thursday.
“We have already reached 2,500 American troops, a very small number,” Starvridis said. “I think this continues to be an opportunity to put pressure on the Taliban, to reach a political agreement, and I am concerned that their withdrawal will lead to the collapse of the Afghan security forces.”
President Joe Biden has decided to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, after two decades of US military intervention in the country. The Trump administration initially pledged to leave the war-torn state by May 1, but Biden moved the date back.
Former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice say they are worried about Biden’s retirement plan. Rice even went so far as to suggest that the United States may have to return at some point in the future. Stavridis agreed with Rice during a Friday night interview with CNBC’s Shepherd Smith News.
“Remember, we went there to crush the terrorism that had attacked us,” said Stavridis, the former Supreme Allied Commander. “It is quite possible that this will be repeated not only by the Taliban, but also by Al Qaeda, now Islamic State. We had better be ready to go back there if necessary.”
Starvridis told host Shepard Smith that while he understood the feeling of Afghan fatigue, it was not uncommon for US troops to be detained abroad. He noted that there are 35,000 troops in South Korea and 50,000 troops stationed in Europe.
Stavridis suggested that between 3,000 and 2,000 troops be detained in Afghanistan to “keep what we have done” and “avoid a resurgence of terrorism that could hit us again.”
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.