(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s announcement that the United States completed its military mission and full withdrawal from Afghanistan:
“First and foremost, my thoughts are with the families, community members and fellow service members of the brave men and women who fought and died to complete the two-decade long mission in Afghanistan. My heart weighs heavy for those mourning loved ones who helped make our country and world a safer place. Some of them signed up to serve after watching the Twin Towers fall and some were sent to fight in a war that began before they were born. Every one of them is a hero. Every one of them is remembered and missed. I am thankful for their service and sacrifice,” said Shaheen.
Shaheen continued, “These last few weeks, we witnessed U.S. troops and diplomats encounter unimaginable challenges in Kabul to get Americans and Afghan allies to safety, risking their lives to save thousands of others: more than 122,000 lives, to be precise. Their valor and courage cannot be overstated, and that is particularly true for the 13 service members who died as they worked to evacuate innocent Afghan civilians, scores of whom also perished at the hands of barbaric terrorists. We remember each and every life taken and the families they leave behind. We also recognize the service and sacrifice of heroic Afghan civilians, many of whom served shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. troops on the battlefield. As we look toward the next chapter of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, we must ensure U.S. sacrifices were not made in vain, especially for the rights of Afghan women and girls.
“My chief concern with what I believe was a premature U.S. withdrawal – first announced in March of 2020 – was that the progress we built over twenty years would unravel without verifiable assurances of a stable, secure government in Afghanistan. It is paramount that the United States remain engaged with our international partners to evacuate remaining U.S. citizens and Afghan allies, prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists, push the Taliban for accountability and ensure that the ISIS-K terrorists culpable for the murders of American service members pay for their crimes. Our mission in Afghanistan has ended but our commitment to protect the American people, safeguard U.S. national security and maintain our global stability endures."