Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has named troops withdrawal from Afghanistan as one of its foreign policy projects. “We do not need these soldiers there. I would take them home”, said the former vice president on Thursday evening in a televised debate by ten presidential candidates of the opposition Democrats in Houston, Texas.
Biden did not mention whether he would seek to negotiate with the Taliban to facilitate troops withdrawal, as President Donald Trump had done since last year. However, Trump abruptly stopped these negotiations last weekend. He justified this with a Taliban attack in Kabul, that led to death of an American soldier.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said in the debate that she would prefer troops withdrawal without agreement with the Taliban. The military operation in Afghanistan does not use the security of the United States, Afghanistan or the world. “We can not ask our military to solve problems”, she said.
The third televised debates of Democratic presidential candidates included a wide range of topics, ranging from foreign, security policy to immigration policy and health care reforms.
In the polls, Biden clearly leads the field of Democratic candidates for the presidential candidacy, followed by the senators Bernie Sanders and Warren, further to the left on the political spectrum.
Biden was partly exposed to strong criticism in the debate. Former Housing Minister Julian Castro accused Biden of having completely changed his position on a detail of health policy in two minutes. Castro asked Biden if he had forgotten what he had said two minutes earlier – which was a swipe at Biden’s age. At 76, Biden is one of the oldest presidential candidates among the Democrats.
On the subject of migration policy, Biden was again exposed to criticism. When asked if he had mass deportations during the term of the then president Barack Obama? In retrospect, Biden said he was vice-president and not the president. Castro then accused his party colleague that he could boast not on the one hand for the Obama years and on the other hand, on uncomfortable topics of the time away. Biden had already been confronted with this criticism during the second round of TV debates in Detroit in late July.
Unlike the previous two rounds of TV debate, this time there was only one evening when all ten Democrats who qualified for the debate were on stage together. In Houston, all presidential hopefuls met with the best odds for a candidacy directly on each other. For Biden and Warren, it was the first confrontation on the television stage.