Shaheen Statement on Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

April 13, 2021

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s confirmation that it plans to withdraw U.S. forces in Afghanistan by September 11, 2021:

“I’m very disappointed in the President’s decision to set a September deadline to walk away from Afghanistan. Although this decision was made in coordination with our allies, the U.S. has sacrificed too much to bring stability to Afghanistan to leave without verifiable assurances of a secure future,” said Shaheen. “It undermines our commitment to the Afghan people, particularly Afghan women. I urge the Biden administration to make every effort between now and September to safeguard the progress made and support our partners in the formation of an inclusive, transitional government.”

Senator Shaheen has repeatedly fought to make the inclusion of Afghan women in ongoing negotiations a U.S. foreign policy priority and spoke with CNN last week on her concerns about the future of Afghan women amid conversations around a U.S. troop withdrawal. She most recently raised this with Secretary of State Blinken, both before and during his confirmation hearing. Senator Shaheen repeatedly pushed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make women’s inclusion in Afghan peace negotiations a U.S. foreign policy priority under the Trump administration. In one hearing, Shaheen slammed Pompeo on his reticence to support the rights of Afghan women during peace talks.

During a congressional delegation visit to Afghanistan in 2019, Shaheen met with a group of Afghan women who described how dramatically their lives had improved since the Taliban government was toppled nearly 2 decades ago. Shaheen is the author of the Women, Peace and Security Act, which was signed into law in 2017 and secures women’s leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations.