The rapid collapse of Afghanistan’s government and the takeover by the Taliban was “ultimately inevitable,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks said in a statement he released on Monday.
“It is disheartening to see the rapid deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan,” the New York Democrat said. “It is abundantly clear that the Taliban’s advance was ultimately inevitable, at least without a commitment to surge tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an unknown span of time. That is a commitment the American public has made clear it does not support.”
The representative stressed that “in the last two decades, we have spent almost a trillion dollars and committed our armed forces on a mission that far exceeded its original scope in Afghanistan. The brave sacrifices of our armed forces were successful in diminishing the threat [al-Qaida] posed to the U.S. homeland, but we cannot and should not ask for them to stay indefinitely.”
Meeks emphasized that “the responsibility to secure Afghanistan ultimately rests on the will of [its own] security forces to fight” after the U.S. and NATO partners spent decades building the capacity of the Afghan security forces.
He added that “it is imperative now for the United States to secure the safety of U.S. personnel, fulfill our commitment to provide for safe passage for those Afghans who’ve supported U.S. efforts, and ensure that Afghan soil is not used to carry out terrorist attacks on America or our allies.”
Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy sent out a similar statement, saying that “We must maintain counter-terrorism capabilities to make sure [al-Qaida] in Afghanistan never again presents a threat to the United States, but our 20-year, trillion-plus dollar nation-building campaign, crippled by design flaws, cannot continue,” The Hill reported.
The Connecticut senator added that “I know this is hard for the foreign policy establishment in Washington to accept, but staying another year or five years or ten years wouldn’t have changed that.”