by Oleg Burunov
On Tuesday, US media outlets reported that at least 22 commandos from an Afghan Special Forces unit were gunned down by Taliban* militants in Afghanistan in mid-June.
Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy has depicted a grim future for Afghan interpreters in light of the ongoing withdrawal of US troops from the South Asian country.
“If they’re not given refugee status, we’re going to see pictures of them lined up against the wall and machine-gunned. That’s not an exaggeration”, Leahy told MSNBC on Tuesday, referring to Taliban militants expanding their clout amid the US troop pullout.
The senator noted that both former US President Donald Trump and POTUS Joe Biden “wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan” and that “now we’re finally doing it”.
Leahy spoke as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at the Biden administration’s drive to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, insisting that the exit had allowed the Taliban to reclaim vital parts of the country and close in on the capital Kabul.
“Our reckless rush to the exits is becoming a global embarrassment. […] He’s ignoring the truth unfolding before our very eyes: Afghanistan is unraveling”, the Kentucky Republican argued, apparently referring to President Biden.
McConnell asserted that the Biden team was “desperate to duck hard questions about Afghanistan” even though Americans “deserve answers” about the matter.
“They deserve to understand the risks of this trajectory and how the commander in chief plans to keep us safe against a terrorist enemy that his own senior advisers admit will be allowed to regroup thanks to his actions”, the senator added.
Taliban Reportedly Kills 22 Afghan Special Forces Troops Attempting to Surrender
The remarks come as CNN reported that 22 Afghan Special Forces soldiers were executed by the Taliban in the town of Dawlat Abad (Faryab Province) on 16 June.
In a graphic video of the alleged execution, the commandos are seen being led out of a building and “Allahu Akhbar” is then overheard as gunshots ring out at the open-air marketplace. According to CNN, the servicemen ran out of ammunition as they were attempting to defend the town from Taliban forces.
Speaking to Fox News late last week, Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby said the US is “deeply concerned” by the deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan, and the momentum the Taliban seems to be gaining amid its ongoing offensives.
Kirby underscored that Washington was not “giving up on” the country, but reiterated that it was up to the Afghans themselves to defend their country using the capability “we know they have”.
President Biden earlier said that he expects the withdrawal of US forces from the country to be wrapped up by 31 August. Yet, the official deadline was set for 11 September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which prompted the US to invade Afghanistan as part of its War on Terror.
US Central Command (CENTCOM) has, meanwhile, claimed that the troop exit from Afghanistan is more than 95 percent complete.