Texas Sens. Cruz and Cornyn are split on Afghanistan troop withdrawal

Mary Dimitrov
·2 min read

Sen. Ted Cruz said he is “glad the troops are coming home” in response to President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

Sen. John Cornyn disagrees.

Biden announced Wednesday he plans to withdraw all troops by Sept. 1, the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

“We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago,” the president said. “That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021. Rather than return to war with the Taliban we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us.”

This deadline is past the May 1 exit the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban last year.

“Bringing our troops home should not be taken as a sign that America will be any less vigilant in protecting American lives and those of our allies, but we can do so without a permanent military presence in a hostile terrain,” Cruz said Tuesday on CNN.

Cornyn said he believes that pulling out troops will harm national security. Cruz and Cornyn are Texas Republicans.

“I’m concerned about it,” Cornyn told the Star-Telegram. “If there’s one thing that we’ve learned is that power vacuums get filled and usually by the bad guys.

“I don’t know whether it’s going to be ISIS or Iran. But none of those sound like particularly good outcomes.”

ISIS is most active in Syria and Iraq, but executes terror attacks throughout the Middle East, including in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s neighboring country, Iran, has been steadily increasing their nuclear capacity since the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

Cornyn also retweeted a tweet Wednesday quoting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Withdrawing forces from Afghanistan is a grave mistake. It is a retreat in the face of an enemy that has not yet been vanquished,” McConnell said.

Cornyn added his own commentary to the retweet.

“In any event, why give them a date,” he said. “All they need to do is wait, refuse to negotiate, and win.”