Mike Rogers comments on anniversary of Afghanistan withdrawal

In this image provided by the Department of Defense, a CH-47 Chinook from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division is loaded onto a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Aug, 28, 2021. (Department of Defense via AP)

Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL03) is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. On Saturday, Rogers released a statement on the two-year anniversary of the last plane of American soldiers leaving Afghanistan.

On August 30, 2021, the last American soldier boarded an airplane at Kabul International Airport. Afghanistan was America’s longest war, with hundreds of thousands of Americans doing tours there over nearly 20 years of combat operations. The U.S. went in to topple the Taliban-led government there. When the U.S. left, the Taliban had far greater control of the nation than they had in 2001 when this war began.

“President [Joe] Biden was warned by Congress and his senior military advisors that a withdrawal from Afghanistan, without a plan, would lead to disaster,” Rep. Rogers said. “Two years ago, President Biden ignored the warnings and pushed forward with an unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan without a plan. President Biden’s irresponsible actions as Commander in Chief led to the fall of Afghanistan into Taliban hands and the Abbey Gate suicide bombing that resulted in the deaths of 13 U.S. servicemembers.”

The terrorist bombing killed 13 U.S. service members and more than one hundred Afghan civilian evacuees – many of whom had worked with U.S. armed forces as interpreters or the elected Afghan government. The bombing ended any further efforts to evacuate Afghan civilians fearful of living under Taliban domination.

“Today, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan is a hotspot for terrorists who seek to harm the United States,” Rogers said. “The Commander of U.S. Central Command, General Erik Kurilla, told the House Armed Services Committee that extremist groups see opportunity in Afghanistan and ISIS-K is capable of external operations against Western interests. Our nation is at higher risk today because of President Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

“The American people deserve answers and accountability,” Rogers concluded. “Congress will continue to investigate the Biden administration, and we will hold his administration accountable for what occurred.”

The Biden Administration has released documents defending the decision to leave Afghanistan and its handling of the withdrawal. The Biden Administration maintains that what happened is largely the fault of the Trump Administration.

“Two decades after the war had started, America had become bogged down in a war in Afghanistan with unclear objectives and no end in sight and was underinvesting in today’s and tomorrow’s national security challenges. President Biden’s choices for how to execute a withdrawal from Afghanistan were severely constrained by conditions created by his predecessor,” the document stated.

“When President [Donald] Trump took office in 2017, there were more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan. Eighteen months later, after introducing more than 3,000 additional troops just to maintain the stalemate, President Trump ordered direct talks with the Taliban without consulting with our allies and partners or allowing the Afghan government at the negotiating table. In September 2019, President Trump emboldened the Taliban by publicly considering inviting them to Camp David on the anniversary of 9/11. In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban reached a deal, known as the Doha Agreement, under which the United States agreed to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by May 2021. In return, the Taliban agreed to participate in a peace process and refrain from attacking U.S. troops and threatening Afghanistan’s major cities—but only as long as the United States remained committed to withdraw by the agreement’s deadline.”

Rogers has represented Alabama’s Third Congressional District since his election in 2002.

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