CINCINNATI, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, senior member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan:
“In 2001, after Al Qaeda launched a series of unprecedented deadly attacks on the United States, our armed forces entered Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda terrorists who were being harbored by the Taliban. Over the past 20 years, both Republican and Democrat administrations realized the value of a stable Afghanistan and committed to support the goal of the Afghan people to live free of oppression and tyranny, as well as protect the homeland and our allies from the threat of international terrorism.
“As I have made clear on numerous occasions, I did not agree with President Biden’s decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan because I believe that any withdrawal should have been based on the conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timeline.
“It is wrong for the Biden administration to suggest that the events we are witnessing today are an inevitable outcome. It is obvious there was no systematic plan for withdrawal. We provided 2,500 troops to serve in a train and assist mission, and when paired with forces from our NATO allies, provided a stabilizing force to the Afghan National Army.
“We are now closing the U.S. Embassy and deploying combat troops to secure the airport and evacuate our embassy and allied personnel, as well as those brave Afghans who served with us and possess Special Immigrant Visas. I encourage the administration to do everything possible to support this evacuation mission and ensure the safety of our allies and their families.
“The fall of Afghanistan was preventable and will have lasting implications. Looking forward, the United States must re-engage with our allies and partners in the region to prepare for a coming refugee crisis as well as a renewed threat of international terrorism brought on by Al Qaeda and its affiliates. Afghanistan is now more likely to serve as a global launchpad for terrorism. I urge the president to be proactive in formulating a strategy for the fallout of this disastrous policy.”