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Rep. DeFazio Statement on Situation in Afghanistan

Aug 17, 2021
Press Release

Rep. DeFazio today released the following statement in response to the ongoing situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. Armed Forces.

“What is happening in Afghanistan is gut-wrenching. I am calling on the Biden administration to cut through bureaucratic red tape and expedite the evacuation of all Americans as well as Afghans who helped the U.S. and our allies during the war in Afghanistan. The withdrawal could have been handled better, but the Trump administration dealt President Biden a bad hand: the Trump administration set a May 1 deadline for our troops to leave Afghanistan, and they chose to exclusively negotiate with the Taliban about U.S. withdrawal while excluding the legitimate Afghan government from these negotiations.

“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. However, President Biden is absolutely correct in withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan, an action that our government should have taken years ago. The U.S. has spent 20 years and over $2 trillion on a war that U.S. officials explicitly knew for years was unwinnable, resulting in countless American lives lost and forever changed.

“The situation in Afghanistan underscores my efforts to strengthen Congress’s war powers and finally put an end to our endless wars. 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.

“No president, regardless of party, should have blanket authority to abuse AUMFs and commit American forces and taxpayer money to endless wars overseas. The Constitution grants Congress, and only Congress, the power to declare war and authorize U.S. involvement in military conflict. It is beyond time for Congress to repeal the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs and take back its constitutional war powers authority by passing war powers reform legislation, like my War Powers Amendments of 2021.”