Congressman Smith Capitol Report: Afghanistan

Jason Smith

The situation we have watched over the last week in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, and I’m praying for the American troops, and personnel, and families who remain in harm’s way.  

Twenty years is long enough to have been in Afghanistan, but it is unthinkable to me that as America worked to end one of our longest wars, that this administration could have been so catastrophically unprepared for the crisis that is following.

If any Missouri families have loved ones who are currently stuck in Afghanistan and trying to get out, please contact my office and we will do whatever we can to help get them home safely.

The Taliban – the government who once gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda – was able to overthrow the Afghan government and take over the country with remarkable speed in less than 6 weeks.

On August 19, we learned that Joe Biden’s White House was warned by its own State Department that the Taliban’s takeover would happen imminently once U.S. troops started drawing down, so it is unacceptable to me that there was no plan to get Americans out of the country or destroy our weapons throughout the country – particularly with the knowledge that a government as brutal as the Taliban would likely be in control.

The images of the Taliban in possession of U.S. weapons, and Americans fleeing our embassy as we did at the end of Vietnam will be used in terrorist recruitment videos for years to come. These images were absolutely avoidable.

I supported President Trump’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan. I also believe, based on how the Trump administration worked to respond to conditions on the ground, that what took place under President Biden would never have occurred under President Trump’s leadership.

The manner in which our withdrawal took place will remain a stain on American foreign policy for decades to come. President Biden and his administration demonstrated a fundamental lack of judgment and disregard for information they received from our intelligence community.

This poor judgment and lack of preparation has placed thousands of American citizens in harm's way. One of the most fundamental responsibilities of the President is to protect American citizens. 

As we’ve seen time and time again during this administration, when things started getting to a crisis level, Joe Biden was nowhere to be found. He’s simply missing in action. Rather than reassure or unify, his speeches left those with loved ones in Afghanistan wondering whether our country was simply abandoning its own citizens to the whims of the Taliban.

Right now, all levels of government should be focused on one thing, getting all Americans home. Congress must then begin immediate hearings to learn why the administration was so unprepared.  Congress must understand why the President was so public about our withdrawal date, which occurred during the summer when the Taliban is at their greatest strength.

We must get to the bottom of who made the decision to leave military equipment that is falling into the Taliban’s hands. And most importantly, we must determine who failed to prioritize the safety of Americans who were left in harm’s way as a direct result of Joe Biden’s leadership.

This disastrous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will unquestionably embolden our adversaries and endanger the security of our allies. America must never allow its political leaders to leave the fate of her citizens up to governments that wish us harm. Joe Biden should return from vacation and dedicate himself to lessening the moral stain his administration has created by evacuating Americans and our allies from the region. For American families’ sake, I hope he gets it right this time before it’s too late.

Congressman Jason Smith, R-MO, represents Rolla in Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District.