Florida congressional members criticize Joe Biden’s inaction as Afghanistan falls to Taliban
Taliban fighters patrol inside the city of Kandahar, southwest Afghanistan.

taliban fighters
Comparing evacuation to the fall of Saigon, conservatives slammed administration handling of events.

The fall of Kabul to Taliban control has led to condemnation by several Florida congressional Republicans.

The Taliban swept into Kabul on Sunday after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, bringing a stunning end to a two-decade campaign in which the U.S. and its allies had tried to transform Afghanistan. The country’s Western-trained security forces collapsed or fled in the face of an insurgent offensive that tore through the country in just over a week, ahead of the planned withdrawal of the last U.S. troops at the end of the month.

Multiple members of Congress compared the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan to the long-maligned evacuation of U.S. officials in Vietnam.

“The photos from Afghanistan are horrifically reminiscent of those from Saigon decades ago,” tweeted Rep. Dan Webster, a Clermont Republican, heavily criticizing President Joe Biden’s handling of the international crisis.

“We’ve abandoned our allies and partners in Afghanistan and around the world, and yet the President is silent. Two decades of victories squandered by incompetence. Americans deserve answers.”

For Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Republican, it’s an outcome he’s warned against now for months.

Waltz served as a counterterrorism advisor to former Vice President Dick Cheney after the U.S. first went into Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In an op-ed published by Fox News this week, he wrote that Biden should fire Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and still try to protect the nation from Taliban control.

“The Taliban could care less whether they are invited to European Embassy cocktail parties,” he wrote. “They care about brutal control.”

More than the decision to leave Afghanistan, Waltz on Sunday tweeted that the haste and disorganization were a black mark on U.S. history.

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“It didn’t have to be this way. There was clearly no plan,” he tweeted, sharing a video of evacuations underway in Kabul.

The U.S. Embassy has now been evacuated and the American flag lowered, with diplomats relocating to the airport to aid with the evacuation. Other Western countries have also closed their missions and are flying out staff and nationals.

Rep. Carlos Giménez, a Miami Republican, called for a full briefing to Congress on the Taliban takeover.

“Mr. President, it is time for you to return to Washington and do your job,” he said, a reference to Biden’s decision to stay in Camp David as events unfolded. “Afghanistan remains a crucial part of America’s foreign policy, and the consequences of your decision to withdraw American forces recklessly and hastily puts our security interests in peril.”

Rep. Brian Mast, a Stuart Republican, called the Biden administration’s handling of Afghanistan an “abject failure.”

“There are now more U.S. troops in Afghanistan than there were when Joe Biden announced his plans to withdraw,” he wrote following news Marines had been dispatched to Kabul to evacuate U.S. assets.

But Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Panhandle Republican and long-time critic of former President George W. Bush’s interventionist policies, said it’s self-interested parties criticizing the U.S. withdrawal. He asserted that the fall of Kabul was a sign the nation there had no control or ability to stop the Taliban short of U.S. occupation.

“Those who praised the capabilities of the Afghan ‘government’ and ‘military’ were always lying to push their own grift,” Gaetz tweeted.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this post.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


14 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 16, 2021 at 6:35 am

    BrianMast is a fake American. Mast accepted and received for his campaign from known Russian operative! There are no Republicans! There are only fake bs dudes! As if you are credible Mast!

    • Ed

      August 16, 2021 at 6:48 am

      I would say to you that Biden is a fake president. Biden and Harris (Dumb and Dumber) are the most incompetent leaders I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. Of course Sonja, you voted for them. From the collapse of the U.S. Southern Border to the fall of Kabul, 40% increase in fuel prices and other commodities, to rising crime in our cities. The feeble old man and his giggling sidekick are an embarrassment to the United States.

      • Tom P.

        August 16, 2021 at 8:40 am

        And he’s only been here 6 months. God help us through the next 3 1/2 years!

    • Ed

      August 16, 2021 at 7:10 am

      Mast lost both of his legs while serving the U.S. Military. You are a despicable human being. Can we label Joe and Hunter as Russian operatives as well? How else does one sit on the board of a Ukrainian energy company collecting millions and doesn’t speak a lick of the local language?

      • Tom P.

        August 16, 2021 at 8:41 am

        Not russian. chinese! communist! party! operatives!!!

    • Zhombre

      August 16, 2021 at 8:24 am

      Nutcase Sonja. Ignore this idiot bitch.

  • ScienceBLVR

    August 16, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Did I read that correctly? Matt Gaetz supports the withdrawal of troops? I still am at a loss to know why we were there for 20 years, costing over 2 trillion and 2500 + American lives. Blame it on the Republicans starting with Bush. If we went because of 9/11, we should have been in Saudi Arabia, where 15/18 terrorists were from, so the blame for this mess lies squarely with that hawkish party. And speaking of incompetent, nothing even compares to the former twice impeached misoginistic loser president. Because of his extreme idiocy hundreds of thousands of Americans died needlessly of COVID while he claimed it didn’t exist.

    • Ed

      August 16, 2021 at 7:30 am

      Dear Science BLVR,

      Interesting how you blame Bush for 9-11. The planning for the hijacking all took place while Clinton was President. Afghanistan is where the planning and training terrorists took place. Nice spin that I’m sure you got from MSNBC or CNN.

      • ScienceBLVR

        August 16, 2021 at 9:38 am

        Sorry Ed, financed by Saudi Arabia.. the hijackers were trained to fly planes into buildings in South Florida pilot schools, but got their papers and support from Saudis, so go back to original point.. why were we in Afghanistan for 20 years? So many other places we could go to stop terrorism.. like the good old USA. Proud Boys, Q anon, white supremacy groups, neo Nazis, all right here-don’t need to go to middle east. The terrorists who stormed the capitol on Jan 6th were proud Americans, rIght??

        • Ed

          August 16, 2021 at 10:36 am

          So you compare a bunch of people armed with American Flags and backpacks on Jan 06 with the terrorists that murdered thousands in n 9-11? Makes no sense at all but you probably got it from your Facebook zombie group.

        • CM Rook

          August 16, 2021 at 12:25 pm

          So you idea of fighting “terrorism” is rounding up those with different political thoughts than you? All based on a false narrative by the fake news media? You don’t understand how free speech works, do you? And you claim the Trump was the dictator…LOL

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    August 16, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Sonja is a 🤡Google her and you’ll see.
    “Science” needs to remember what happened during Clinton’s term. He did nothing after the bombing He admitted it.

  • Zhombre

    August 16, 2021 at 8:35 am

    Are Florida Congressional Democrats okay with this debacle?

  • PeterH

    August 16, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Did Trump and Pompeo negotiate with the Taliban to remove USA troops from Afghanistan? How did these negotiations diminish the capacity of the existing corrupt and bankrupt Afghanistan failed state?

    We’ll …. Yes Trump did negotiate ….. our Afghan leaders were distanced from the process and Republicans never complained. They didn’t complain because they understood that propping up a failed Afghan government was not in America’s interest…..AND IT STILL ISN’T!

    The USA’s objective was never to nation build ….. but for 20 years that’s exactly what we’ve been trying to do. We paid off regional warlords to cooperate, we paid and trained Afghan soldiers to perpetuate a civil war with other Afghans. Recently the Afghan soldiers were not paid. Someone was collecting our money meant for soldiers?!?!

    Biden was faced with two options: he could follow the Pompeo timeline and leave Afghanistan, or he could increase USA presence and follow through with another surge with an indefinite outcome.

    For the past three weeks ….the well trained 300,000 string Afghan military removed their uniforms and turned their arms over to 75,000 Taliban fighters in a mostly bloodless coup. One city and township after another was relinquished to the Taliban.

    In a mostly bloodless coup the President of Afghanistan left the country yesterday and Taliban marched into Kabul. At the moment the Taliban is looking for calm and respectability. That probably won’t last but THAT’S NOT OUR PROBLEM.

    When Afghan citizens learned of the imminent USA withdrawal last year ….. they should have either made arrangements to leave or stay. Many didn’t…. and that’s why there is observable chaos at the Afghan airport. THAT CHAOS IS NOT OUR PROBLEM.

    Our 20 year Afghan nightmare is almost over. We “could have” “should have” for the next five hundred years…… but the fact is this:

    We walked into a failed nation state 20 years ago …… we lived through 20 years and several Afghan presidential failed states ….. and a Taliban failed state has once again assumed power.

    In the 19th century the British tried, in the 20th century the Russians tried and in the 21st century the Americans tried….and $2 trillion dollars and thousands of soldier deaths we’re leaving.

Comments are closed.


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