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Grassley blasts August 31 Afghan withdrawal deadline

DES MOINES — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the withdrawal of U-S forces from Afghanistan should not be rushed.

“Whatever Trump or Biden wanted to do on reducing the number of troops or pulling out, they should have never set a date,” Grassley said during an interview with reporters from Radio Iowa and the Associated Press.

President Trump’s Administration negotiated an agreement in early 2020 that called for a withdrawal by May 1 of this year. This spring, President Biden said the withdrawal would happen by September 11, but in July Biden moved up the timeline to the end of August.

“The president is commander in chief and I hope that he does not have an automatic deadline of August 31, so that we leave Americans over there that could be taken hostage,” Grassley said, “and that we would leave SIVs over there that could be executed.”

Afghans being granted Special Immigrant Visas — SIVs — worked with the U-S government or the U-S military over the past two decades. Grassley said he believes the Pentagon should have come with a withdrawal plan that gradually flew Americans and allies out of Afghanistan.

“It seems to me common sense would dictate…you’d do all that without letting the enemy know what you’re doing,” Grassley said. “…Any artificial deadline would lead to sure death for a lot of people that don’t deserve it.”

Grassley called it “a big mistake” for President Obama to release five Taliban prisoners from Cuba in a swap for an American hostage and for President Trump to agree to a prisoner swap of five-thousand Taliban for about a thousand people held BY the Taliban. Grassley, a Republican, voted against the Gulf War in 1991, but supported the resolution authorizing the Bush Administration’s push into Afghanistan after the September 11th attacks.

Grassley made his comments Tuesday before President Biden’s scheduled remarks at the White House.


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