Lindsey Graham Says Biden 'Seems Oblivious' to Terrorist Threats Posed by Taliban-Run Afghanistan

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham criticized President Joe Biden for seeming "oblivious" to the potential for future terrorist attacks from Afghanistan as the Taliban seized control on Sunday.

"It is only a matter of time until al-Qaeda reemerges in Afghanistan and presents a threat to the American homeland and western world," Graham said in a statement sent to Newsweek on Sunday. "President Biden seems oblivious to the terrorist threats that will come from a Taliban-run Afghanistan."

In the statement, parts of which he also tweeted, Graham called the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan "a sad and dangerous event for U.S. national security interests and the world at large."

It is only a matter of time until al-Qaeda reemerges in Afghanistan and presents a threat to the American homeland and western world.

President Biden seems oblivious to the terrorist threats that will come from a Taliban-run Afghanistan.

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) August 15, 2021

"Jihadists all over the world are celebrating this event," the statement said.

Graham slammed a statement by Biden that said it is up to Afghan forces to fight, saying it "shows a complete disconnect as to the threats America faces."

"Does President Biden truly believe the Taliban has America's best interests at heart?" the statement said. "Are we comfortable outsourcing American national security to the Taliban?"

He added, "The decision by President Biden to fully withdraw is a calamity for the people of Afghanistan, a disaster for the American people, and shows a lack of understanding as to the threats that still emanate from the War on Terror."

He called the decision "reckless" and said it was made against sound military advice.

Graham offered slight praise for Biden for authorizing additional U.S. forces to help evacuate U.S. personnel and allies. However, he said he does not believe that is possible by the end of August.

He said "the artificial date" will likely result in thousands of Afghans who have helped the U.S. "being left behind for slaughter."

Graham also called on the Biden administration to not accept the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

Kabul Police
Senator Lindsey Graham slammed President Joe Biden for being “oblivious to the terrorist threats that will come from a Taliban-run Afghanistan” on Sunday as the Taliban seized power. Here, an Afghan policeman speaks to a commuter on Saturday. WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images

"They are medieval thugs who sympathize with al-Qaeda, brutalize women, and destroy all concepts of religious tolerance," Graham said. "The Taliban represents a direct threat to the United States and our allies."

The White House responded to Graham in a statement to Newsweek, saying the administration has been clear they will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists who threaten the U.S. and that counterterrorism capabilities are "far more sophisticated" than they were before 9/11.

"President Biden made clear from the start of this process that it's critical for us to retain over the horizon counterterrorism abilities," the statement said. "There are sources of terror around the world where US doesn't have combat troops on the ground."

The administration is now focused on identifying and countering future terrorist threats from Afghanistan and ensuring a safe departure of U.S. civilians and Afghan partners.

Graham had previously asked Biden to reevaluate the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

"I beg you, President Biden, reevaluate this. Don't lock yourself in, because things are going to change quickly in Afghanistan for the worse," Graham told reporters in April, according to Voice of America. "This is not going to end well for us."

Some Democrats have also been critical of Biden in light of the Taliban's takeover. Representative Debbie Dingell of Michigan said on MSNBC Sunday morning that the events in Kabul reminded her of the U.S. evacuation from Saigon in 1975.

"It does feel like the fall of Saigon today, I'm not going to lie," said Dingell, a staunch White House ally.

On Sunday, the Afghan military and government fell to the Taliban as insurgent forces entered the capital Kabul after seizing power across the country in just over a week.

Biden defended his decision to withdraw in a statement issued Saturday, saying that an endless American presence in the country "was not acceptable" to him.

"One more year, or five more years, of U.S. military presence," he wrote, "would not have made a difference if the Afghan military cannot or will not hold its own country."

The Taliban is expected to announce the renaming of the country to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

This article was updated Monday morning with a statement from the White House.

Update 8/16/21, 10:41 a.m. ET: This article was updated with a statement from the White House to Newsweek.