Local leaders react to U.S. troops withdrawing from Afghanistan
Lawmakers across the area are reacting to the last of the U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan.
On Monday, the last American C-17 cargo plane took off from Kabul, marking the end of America’s longest war.
Here’s what local leaders had to say:
U.S. Senator Jim Risch, (R-ID)
“To the men and women in uniform who risked so much over the last 20 years, there are no words that appropriately recognize your steadfast determination and the sacrifices you have made to keep Americans safe. Our military kept the faith, and we owe them a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. Vicki and I pray for the many heroes who lost their lives in service of our nation.
“Today’s final flight out of Afghanistan marks a tragic end to a 20-year conflict. President Biden and his team’s disastrous withdrawal over the last several weeks has failed to guarantee America’s safety, and worse, left countless Americans, close Afghan partners, and other allies to an unknown and dangerous fate. We cannot, and should not, trust the Taliban to keep any of them safe, so I expect the administration to work closely with Congress in the coming days and weeks to ensure we bring every American and partner to safety.
“This rushed and chaotic withdrawal did not have to happen. Terrorism is as real today as it was on September 11th, and as we confront a new reality in which it again rules Afghanistan, the dangers to America will only grow. We must have an effective U.S. counterterrorism capability that will prevent terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and ISIS from planning new attacks against the United States and our partners.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, (R-WA):
“Yesterday was a dark day in our nation’s history. We had a moral obligation to safely evacuate every U.S. citizen and Afghan partner seeking refuge. I am devastated by President Biden’s lack of preparedness that has resulted in this disastrous withdrawal. It is un-American, and it did not need to end this way. With the Taliban now in full control of Afghanistan, my heart breaks as I pray for those who must live in fear of what tomorrow might bring.”
U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, (D-WA)
“I want to thank our service members and diplomatic corps, especially the many from our state that served in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. They were once again truly heroic in the recent evacuations.
“The Administration must now work with our allies and the international community to protect the American citizens and Afghan partners who served alongside the U.S. and coalition militaries, as well as the U.S.-funded civilian NGOs that remain in Afghanistan. They must be allowed safe passage out of the country.
“Stabilizing Afghanistan requires diplomatic and political solutions. We have a moral imperative to push for human rights protections and to support humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people. We still also have responsibility to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a terrorist base to launch attacks against the United States or other countries.”
Gov. Jay Inslee, (D-WA)
“The last U.S. personnel departed Afghanistan yesterday, ending our 20-year engagement there. However people feel about this moment, what should resonate and unify us is our respect for the American men and women who gave Afghanistan two decades of opportunity.
“We can all recognize the decision by the president to end this war was both necessary and hard. I share the view that more grueling tours of duty in a place where we have already lost so many lives do not serve our country’s interests.
“This much is true: President Biden’s evacuation response was the largest and most remarkable airlift in our history. It helped over 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of our allies and Afghan allies leave. It was a perilous mission where U.S. troops put their lives in harm’s way yet again to bring these individuals to safety. The extraordinary dedication of everyone who made this feat possible – and the memory of the 13 U.S. Marines and Sailors who were killed protecting it – will not be forgotten.
“Washington state is ready to do its part of the hard work ahead. We will care for our veterans and their families, who bear the wounds, seen and unseen, of this war. We must protect and strengthen our democracy here at home. And we must welcome and support the Afghan evacuees who are becoming a part of our community.
“I have been heartened to see the outpouring of support from Washingtonians seeking to help our Afghan friends who are resettling here. Our state, as always, will welcome immigrants and refugees from all corners of the globe, and we look forward to receiving more of our partners from Afghanistan in the coming weeks and months.”
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