Adam Kinzinger Says He's Unsure How U.S. Will Stop Terrorism After Afghanistan Withdrawal

Illinois GOP Congressman Adam Kinzinger raised concerns about how the United States will be able to stop the growth of terrorism following the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

In an interview on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Kinzinger, who served as an Air Force pilot in Afghanistan, said the U.S. is in a better place than it was one week ago, but not necessarily in a good spot following what he called the "disastrous" withdrawal.

He said it is a "real concern" how the U.S. will maintain counterterrorism efforts.

"How is that we leave Afghanistan? We're going to be able to maintain a counter-terrorism posture, supposedly, with this over-the-horizon magic stuff we have, but there's already an ISIS threat when we're there," Kinzinger said.

"Once we finally leave and finish this evacuation," he added, "which I certainly hope we're committed to following through with every American and every Afghan that helped us and deserves that shot to come home. I have no idea how we're going to be able to maintain that posture and stop the growth of terrorism. It's a real concern."

During his appearance, Kinzinger criticized both Democrats and Republicans for their handling of the situation.

"They're both responsible," he said. "We're so tribalistic as a country, it's hard for somebody to imagine a Republican saying everybody's responsible."

Kinzinger called out former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for trying to negotiate with the Taliban, saying the withdrawal of troops was "set up to fail."

"Of course, [President] Joe Biden could have easily turned this around, and instead used it as the excuse to get out," he said.

He also criticized the Biden administration over the extraction of American and Afghan citizens from the Kabul airport, calling the execution "extremely disastrous."

The congressman blamed Biden—along with former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama—for the slow processing of special immigrant visas for Afghans.

"If we fail to follow through on our commitment to these Afghans, that's going to put our serious national security at risk," he said.

Kinzinger also called out some members of his own party for not supporting Afghan refugees. He said fear-mongering about refugees is "not American" and that the U.S. has "always been the country that opens our heart."

"If anybody wants to go out and fear monger and continue that darkness in your heart and speak in it so you can win an election, (A) you're either evil at your heart yourself, or (B) you're a charlatan whose only interested in winning re-election," the congressman said.

Newsweek reached out to Kinzinger's office and the White House for comment but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Following the withdrawal of American troops, the Taliban quickly seized power in Afghanistan, taking the capital city of Kabul last weekend. In the aftermath, both Biden and Trump have received criticism from members of both parties for the withdrawal.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger
Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger said on CNN that he is unsure of how the U.S. will stop the growth of terrorism following the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. Above, he is seen listening during the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 riots on July 27. 
Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images