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Kinzinger: Afghanistan exit ‘a crushing defeat’

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), an Air Force veteran who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, said on Sunday that the imminent withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is a “crushing defeat.”

While appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kinzinger was asked by host Chuck Todd whether he agreed with a headline from The Economist that called the withdrawal a crushing defeat.

“No, I agree. It’s a crushing defeat. You know, the Taliban always had a saying. They said, ‘The U.S. — America has the watches, but we have the time.’ You know, I’m proud of the American people for sticking by this mission for 20 years. We actually needed to do it longer and we still have troops in Kosovo, but unfortunately it worked,” Kinzinger said.

“The Taliban have outlasted the will of the United States. It was not a hot war, really. It was basically a peacekeeping operation and we may have to go back now. It is a crushing defeat and I’m really sad about it, honestly,” he added.

The U.S. left Bagram Airfield earlier this month, signalling a symbolic end the the U.S.’s presence in Afghanistan. Todd asked Kinzinger if he felt it was likely the U.S. would have to occupy the airbase again in the future.

“I do think it’s quite likely we’re going to have to either — when we return to Afghanistan because, you know, of the existential threat to us or our allies — re-occupy Bagram or we may have to bomb it if there’s some kind of an air mission,” Kinzinger opined.

Kinzinger added, “We only had 2,500 troops there, 5,000 NATO troops, and the Afghanistan government was doing 98 percent of the fighting against the Taliban. It’s no wonder they’re collapsing when the U.S. says, ‘We’re gone.’ But it was really a small price to pay for frankly holding off the inevitable bad that unfortunately we’re going to see.”

Tags Adam Kinzinger Adam Kinzinger Afghanistan–United States relations Chuck Todd Taliban War in Afghanistan

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