Afghan War veteran and GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana says terrorists in Afghanistan were waiting for a president like Joe Biden to come along in order to strike.
Banks, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News host Harris Faulkner on Thursday that the day’s deadly bomb attacks on U.S. military personnel and Afghan civilians outside of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport could have been avoided.
“I’m heartbroken thinking about the many lives that are affected, our service members, the lives of the Afghans who have been helping us over the last 20 years who are trying to get to the airport,” he said.
“All of this was completely avoidable. That’s what makes me so angry watching these images,” he added.
Afghanistan veteran @RepJimBanks: “All of this was completely avoidable. That’s what makes me so angry watching these images.”
Terrorists were “waiting for a president like Joe Biden” pic.twitter.com/4w7KTozcNg
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) August 26, 2021
The congressman said that the group known as ISIS-K — or Islamic State – Khorasan Province — has been gaining strength in Afghanistan for three years. The terror group is believed to have conducted the Thursday attacks that have killed at least 12 U.S. service members and wounded 15 others.
Additionally, 60 Afghans were killed in the two suicide bomber strikes, The Wall Street Journal reported.
U.S. general: 12 U.S. service members killed in suicide attack outside the Kabul airport, 15 wounded.
Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, says two ISIS suicide bombers carried out the attack, along with ISIS gunmen.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) August 26, 2021
Banks argued that the Islamic State group has been “waiting for a moment like this, waiting for a president like Joe Biden to create a chaotic situation like what he has, to strike.”
“We saw what’s happened over the last couple of hours. We’re going to see a lot more of that to come in the days ahead,” the lawmaker predicted.
My statement on today’s tragedy in Afghanistan: pic.twitter.com/1rzF0wXMLM
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 26, 2021
“The responsibility for this tragedy rests squarely on the shoulders of Joe Biden. His incompetence means American blood has been shed,” Banks said in a Thursday statement.
I will never forget the men and women I served along side of in Afghanistan.
Our President must assure them our nation will never forget their sacrifices and those of their families. pic.twitter.com/KssgOfsxKS
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) August 16, 2021
“If we would have kept a small footprint of special operations, counterterrorism-focused troops in Afghanistan, through all of this, and if we would have kept the Bagram Airfield open rather than rely on the very inefficient Kabul public airport … this situation could have unfolded a lot more effectively and in a much better than what it has,” he told Faulkner. (The full interview can be seen here, starting about the 8:45 mark.)
Banks does not have confidence the Biden administration will be able to get all Americans out of Afghanistan.
Former President Donald Trump in a Thursday statement said, “Melania and I send our deepest condolences to the families of our brilliant and brave Service Members whose duty to the U.S.A. meant so much to them. Our thoughts are also with the families of the innocent civilians who died today in the savage Kabul attack.”
Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America
“Melania and I send our deepest condolences to the families of our brilliant and brave Service Members whose duty to the U.S.A. meant so much to them. pic.twitter.com/dw7NK7bbUm
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) August 26, 2021
“This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen,” Trump added, “which makes our grief even deeper and more difficult to understand.”