(USA Features) Sen. Lindsey Graham said Saturday that the U.S. military could retake the once-vital Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan “tonight” but the Biden administration simply lacked the will to do so, in comments that appear to refuse Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
“Bagram was a great evacuation platform. It has multiple runways,” Graham told host Jeanine Pirro.
“It’s out in the middle of nowhere, and you can take that airbase tonight if you wanted to. If you had any will in the White House, militarily, we can take Bagram Air Base,” Graham added.
Graham made his comments as the Tuesday deadline approaches for all U.S. forces and personnel to be out of the country, though he and other Republicans have pushed President Joe Biden to remain in Afghanistan long enough to get all Americans out as well as Afghan allies who helped U.S. and NATO forces.
He also pointed out that the Bagram Air Base is located near the anti-Taliban resistance in Panjshir Valley.
“They need to have a footprint to continue to get people out, and you can make the Taliban’s life difficult. But we are choosing to do none of that,” Graham said.
“This is a dark, despicable, and depressing chapter in American history,” he added.
Earlier, Milley said during a briefing on Aug. 18 that securing Bargam “is a significant level of military effort of forces, and it would also require external support from the Afghan Security Forces,” which disintegrated along with the U.S.-backed Afghan government this month as Taliban fighters swept across the country.
“Our task given to us at that time, our task was to protect the embassy in order for the embassy personnel to continue to function with their consular service and all that,” he said.
“If we were to keep both Bagram and the embassy going, that would be a significant number of military forces that would have exceeded what we had or stayed the same or exceeded what we had,” Milley added.
“So, we had to collapse one or the other, and a decision was made.”
That decision, which was made by Biden, is what needs to change, Graham noted.
Afghan forces at Bagram surrendered to Taliban fighters, according to a local district official, as Graham noted in a tweet Thursday that taking back the base was worth the risk.
“The retaking of Bagram would put our military at risk, but I think those involved in the operation would gladly accept that risk because it would restore our honor as a nation and save lives,” he said.