It’s been one year. But we will never forget.
On August 15th, 2021, Kabul, Afghanistan, fell to the Taliban. This event marked the end of our nation’s 20-year involvement in the country. It also marked a blatant moral and national security failure that has had lasting consequences for our country, allies, and the people of Afghanistan. Kabul’s fall one year ago was tragic, it was predictable, and it could have been prevented. President Joe Biden ignored the advice of his military commanders. His rushed and disorganized effort to pull the United States out of the region cost American and Afghan lives and left thousands of Americans and our allies behind.
Just before the events of August 2021, President Biden announced to the nation that our withdrawal from Afghanistan would not be another Saigon. However, that is exactly what happened.
In the chaos that followed the fall, America lost 13 brave U.S. Servicemembers who were attempting to protect Americans and our allies fleeing the Taliban. These servicemembers were heroes who endured extremely dangerous circumstances in order to protect the innocent. This included U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss stationed at Fort Bragg. We continue to pray for the families and friends of all servicemembers lost that day.
On top of this tragedy, billions of dollars in equipment and thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies who supported our troops were left behind. My office alone directly contacted or worked with organizations representing more than 11,700 citizens and allies who needed to flee Afghanistan. Our government made them a promise, and Joe Biden broke that promise. More than 800 citizens and tens of thousands of Afghan partners remain left behind by the Biden administration today, according to a new report by House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans.
Today, Afghanistan has descended into an abysmal state and a haven for terrorists. Political and social liberties, especially for women, have been severely restricted by the Taliban, and most Afghans are facing acute starvation and poverty. It is estimated that 97% of the population could fall below the poverty line by year’s end. Beyond this humanitarian crisis, Afghanistan has also, once again, become a haven for terrorists. This became clear after the announcement of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri’s death in Kabul. While his death was a major step in the fight against terrorism, the fact that he was in Afghanistan is worrisome and may indicate the country will once again be a cradle for violent extremism.
The situation in Afghanistan is a moral and national security failure, the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations. What’s more, it could have been avoided if President Biden had listened to commanders on the ground. Instead, they prioritized speed over the safety and security of the American people, as well as the well-being of all those in Afghanistan. This is unacceptable. As Fort Bragg’s Congressman, I promise to work diligently to provide oversight of this deadly withdrawal, to get our citizens and allies out of harm’s way, and to honor the brave Americans who lost their lives serving in Afghanistan.
While the scope and scale of this catastrophe stands alone, it is unfortunately not the only policy failure that has threatened our nation. In addition to their many foreign policy and national security missteps, Washington Democrats’ economic agenda continues to undermine you and your family. Last week, President Biden signed the ‘Inflation Expansion Act’ into law. This $700 billion bill will raise your taxes, make inflation worse, and enable the IRS to come after you by adding more than 87,000 new agents – more than all the troops stationed at Fort Bragg.
With many students going back to school this week, it is estimated that you will pay OVER $660 on average for each of your children this year on back-to-school shopping because of inflation. The last thing families need right now is even more inflation-driving government spending and tax increases. I voted against the ‘Inflation Expansion Act’ and am working on cutting reckless spending and getting our economy back on track.
Whether it be demanding accountability over Afghanistan or fighting to grow our economy, I will never stop working for you. Misguided policies from Washington have created numerous challenges for us abroad and at home. Yet I am optimistic for the future of our nation because of strong communities like ours.