Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., told Newsmax Monday that President Joe Biden "stuck his head in the sand" on the withdrawal from Afghanistan and that the operation was "a failure of leadership 100%."
"I know for a fact that President Biden stuck his head in the sand," the U.S. Army veteran said during an appearance on "The Record with Greta Van Susteren." "He didn't want to see sand tables of the withdrawal, they didn't want to execute practice runs of the withdrawal, because he didn't want to be held liable for the risks of what was going to happen."
Tuesday marks one year since the longest American war came to a chaotic end when the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, following the collapse of the country's government and a fast takeover by the Taliban.
When asked what the indications were that the American-backed government in Afghanistan was not going to fall if the United States withdrew its forces, Mast said host Van Susteren was "bringing up one of the most important questions."
"That really goes to that wire, that cable, from the embassy in Afghanistan, coming back to the United States of America, that America hasn't been able to read, that dissent cable directly talking about [that] there's not a belief that the Afghans will be able to hold," the Florida Republican said.
"That dissent cable and the administration wanting to ignore that. That's exactly what you're talking about."
While deployed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, Mast worked as a bomb disposal expert under the Joint Special Operations Command. The last IED he found resulted in catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs.
Van Susteren asked the Sunshine State congressman, who served in the Army for more than 12 years, to describe how he felt, seeing the Taliban return to power.
"We gave an absolute beating to al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists for 20 years," Mast said. "We gave them a beating and that reckoning after they attacked us that had to take place. But, following that reckoning that took place, […] we wanted to see a peaceful country.
"We wanted to see women that had rights. We wanted to see girls that were over six years old that could learn reading, writing and arithmetic. We wanted people to be free there and have the opportunity to experience what a lot of the rest of the world gets to experience.
"We didn't want to see the most well-armed Taliban and al-Qaida in the history of their entire history," he added. "Those aren't things that we fought for, and that was an absolute slap in the face. That was a failure of leadership 100%."
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