Congressman DeFazio Statement on the End of the U.S. War in Afghanistan
Congressman DeFazio today issued the following statement upon the official U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“The U.S. military has finally left Afghanistan, bringing an end to America’s longest war. I commend President Biden for his leadership in finally ending the U.S.’s ‘forever war’ in Afghanistan, an action that I have long fought for and which our government should have taken years ago. This two-decade-long war resulted in the tragic deaths of over 2,400 American servicemembers, countless contractors and civilians, and thousands more Americans who were wounded and whose lives have been forever changed. The U.S. military, diplomatic corps, aid workers, and their families made great sacrifices over the last two decades. We all are grateful for their service.
“I have joined with my colleagues in Congress and President Biden in strongly condemning the terrorist attack committed by ISIS-K outside of the Kabul airport on August 26, which tragically killed over a dozen U.S. servicemembers and over 150 Afghans. I want to express my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of our military servicemembers who made the ultimate sacrifice. I extend my sincere sympathies for every innocent life taken.
“I am thankful for the bravery of our servicemembers who worked tirelessly to keep Americans and all other evacuees in Afghanistan safe in an extraordinarily difficult environment. President Biden has also pledged to bring the members of ISIS-K to justice.
“Now that U.S. forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, further work lies ahead. We need to investigate the handling of the evacuation including the decision to surrender Bagram Air Base before evacuating all Americans and our Afghan allies from the country, and instead depend upon the lightly defended civilian airport in Kabul.
“I will also continue to do my part to cut through bureaucratic red tape to get any remaining Americans, allies, and vulnerable Afghans out of the country as soon as possible.
“Make no mistake, the Trump administration dealt President Biden a bad hand. President Trump set a May 1 deadline for our troops to leave Afghanistan, and Trump chose to exclusively negotiate with the Taliban about U.S. withdrawal while excluding the legitimate Afghan government from these negotiations. Additionally, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration pushed for years to create a massive backlog in the Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghan allies, resulting in 17,000 unprocessed visa applications by the time President Biden took office.
“Congress did not authorize this ‘forever war’ in Afghanistan. Presidents of both parties have deliberately abused the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) – which was meant to authorize a short-term mission to take out al-Qaeda after the devastating 9/11 attacks – to keep U.S. troops in an open, endless war in Afghanistan under the dubious guise of ‘nation building.’ The original mission in Afghanistan was further disrupted by President Bush’s needless and wasteful invasion of Iraq, which I strongly opposed and voted against. We must finally learn from the mistakes made in Afghanistan over the last 20 years to not repeat them in the future.”