WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after the U.S. military completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan, marking the end of the war.
“For twenty years the United States has sent our sons and daughters to fight in Afghanistan. There are not enough words to adequately express our country’s gratitude for their brave service, and that of their families. When called, our men and women in uniform answered that call in blood, sweat and tears, while too many others paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives, and we owe them an unimaginable debt. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, our military engagement in Afghanistan has finally come to an end.
“Our initial mission in Afghanistan – to hold those who planned 9/11 accountable and prevent a similar attack on the homeland – was successful, but for the last decade our mission grew increasingly broad and difficult as we tried to assist Afghan leaders in the creation of a government that could provide for its own security. Ultimately, that goal was not achievable, and President Biden made the right decision to end our long military involvement in Afghanistan. How could we continue to ask Americans to give their lives in pursuit of an endless mission?
“I commend our military forces who executed the troop withdrawal and the evacuation efforts. Their herculean effort ensured more than 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of our allies, and our Afghan allies were transported safely in the largest airlift operation in U.S. history. Our deepest condolences go out to the families of the 13 service members who gave their lives in support of this effort. They represent the best of our country, and their sacrifice will not be forgotten.
“Now that our military has withdrawn, our focus must be threefold. First, we must implement a counter terrorism strategy to contain the existing threats in South Asia. Second, we must continue to work tirelessly to get as many Americans and Afghans out of the country as is possible. While our military mission in Afghanistan has ended, our diplomatic mission is ongoing. As Secretary Blinken said yesterday, our commitment to the Americans living in Afghanistan has no deadline – if at any point they decide they want to leave the country, it is our diplomatic mission to bring them to safety.
“Lastly, we must create and implement plans to make sure Afghan refugees are resettled swiftly and safely. We must continue to do everything in our power to deliver the Afghans who may be in danger to safety – whether these Afghans supported the U.S. military, or worked on humanitarian and human rights issues, they deserve our support.”
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