Top House Democrat: Taliban advance was ‘ultimately inevitable’
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on Monday said the swift deterioration of Afghanistan’s government and the takeover by the Taliban was “ultimately inevitable.”
“It is disheartening to see the rapid deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan. It is abundantly clear that the Taliban’s advance was ultimately inevitable, at least without a commitment to surge tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an unknown span of time. That is a commitment the American public has made clear it does not support,” Meeks said in a statement.
Meeks argued that although U.S. and NATO forces have spent decades in Afghanistan, the responsibility of securing the country ultimately fell on the Afghan security forces. Meeks called for safe passage out of Afghanistan for U.S. personnel and Afghans who helped U.S. forces.
“In the last two decades, we have spent almost a trillion dollars and committed our armed forces on a mission that far exceeded its original scope in Afghanistan. The brave sacrifices of our armed forces were successful in diminishing the threat Al-Qaeda posed to the U.S. homeland, but we cannot and should not ask for them to stay indefinitely,” he continued.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) echoed Meeks’s response in a statement on Monday.
“Our central mission in Afghanistan — to decimate al Qaeda — was completed long ago. We must maintain counter-terrorism capabilities to make sure al Qaeda in Afghanistan never again presents a threat to the United States, but our 20-year, trillion-plus dollar nation-building campaign, crippled by design flaws, cannot continue,” Murphy said.
He added, “I know this is hard for the foreign policy establishment in Washington to accept, but staying another year or five years or ten years wouldn’t have changed that.”