Lawmakers who served in the US military express frustration after Taliban forces took over Afghanistan

Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
  • Lawmakers who served in the US military responded to the fall of Kabul to Taliban forces.
  • Some expressed grief and frustration over the situation as US veterans.
  • Others called the Biden administration to better address the evacuation effort of Afghans fleeing the country.
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Rep. Seth Moulton
Seth moulton (david)
Rep. Seth Moulton. Craig Walker/The Boston Globe/Getty Images
Rep. Seth Moulton, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said describing the situation in Afghanistan as “anything short of a disaster would be dishonest” and said it “was avoidable.”

“The time to debate whether we stay in Afghanistan has passed, but there is still time to debate how we manage our retreat,” he said in a statement. “For months, I have been calling on the Administration to evacuate our allies immediately — not to wait for paperwork, for shaky agreements with third countries, or for time to make it look more ‘orderly.'”

Moulton, who served in the Marine Corps during the Iraq War, went on to say former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “set in motion” what would eventually lead to the fall of Kabul to the Taliban.

“Today’s tragedy must also serve as a wakeup call to Congress, who holds ultimate, Constitutional responsibility for sending our best and brightest to war on the nation’s behalf,” he said. “Successive leaders of both parties have failed to hold the votes for re-authorizing this conflict for the last two decades since we invaded to find Osama bin Laden.”

“For that, all of us in Congress should be ashamed.”

Rep. Jason Crow
Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO)
Rep. Jason Crow at a news conference outside the US Capitol on April 22, 2021. Erin Scott/Reuters
Crow, a Democrat from Colorado, said his heart “has broken” in light of the events in Kabul.

“Like most vets, I left a part of me in [Afghanistan],” he tweeted Sunday. “Later we’ll debate the failures of [the] last 20 years, but today our mission is clear: hold the airport as long as possible and get ALL US citizens and as many Afghan partners out as we can.”

“We will debate the rest later,” Crow added.

Rep. Ruben Gallego
GettyImages 1225972137
Rep. Ruben Gallego. Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images
The Arizona Democrat said he can “never fit” what he is “feeling and thinking about the situation in Afghanistan” on Twitter, but he urged the US government to do everything they can to get Americans and “every person we can that helped us” out of the country.

“Our military didn’t fail Afghanistan,” he tweeted. “The American people didn’t fail Afghanistan. Hubris of us the elites in Washington DC did.”

“We failed to understand Afghanistan and we failed to understand the American public’s will for a long engagement … again,” Gallego continued.

He suggested US officials employ cruise ships and “bases everywhere around the world” to facilitate the evacuation of Afghans who provided assistance to US forces.

“Just put them on f—ing plans and get them out of there,” he wrote.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger
Rep. Adam Kinzinger at a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Capitol Hill on March 10, 2021. Ting Shen/Pool via AP
Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois who was a US Air Force pilot in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the Taliban takeover of Kabul was a “result of a shortsighted, weak, and utter failure of both the previous White House and the current Administration.”

“The naïve Trump Administration legitimized the Taliban by having ‘talks’ with them about peace and openly negotiating with terrorists,” Kinzinger said in a statement, “while the Biden Administration tried to fulfill a campaign promise without any semblance of a plan or forethought into how this would play out.”

“The possibility that Afghanistan would once again become a safe haven and recruiting ground for terrorists is now a likelihood,” he continued. “And the peace, stability, and security that our presence in Afghanistan assured both the Afghan people and Americans here at home has been entirely wiped out.”

Kinzinger vowed to “do whatever I can to help our allies on the ground” and called on the Biden administration to facilitate special immigrant visas to Afghans and Americans evacuating the country.

“And I will continue to be grateful to the men and women of our military who served in Afghanistan — it will be honored and remembered as a worthy mission, and we will be forever grateful for their dedicated service and countless sacrifices,” he wrote.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw
Dan.crenshaw
Rep. Dan Crenshaw. Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
The Texas Republican, who served in the US Navy, condemned the Biden administration’s response to Taliban forces regaining control of Afghanistan.

Crenshaw namely pointed to Biden’s decision back in April to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan — a move he doubled down on in an address regarding the developing situation in Kabul on Monday.

“One cannot overstate the extent to which Biden has screwed things up,” Crenshaw wrote. “And all he had to do to succeed was nothing.”

Sen. Tom Cotton
Tom Cotton NYT op ed
Sen. Tom Cotton. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Like Crenshaw, the GOP senator from Arkansas, who served in Afghanistan, was quick to condemn Biden’s withdraw of US troops in Afghanistan.

“The fiasco in Afghanistan wasn’t just predictable, it was predicted,” Cotton said. “Joe Biden’s ill-planned retreat has now humiliated America and put at risk thousands of Americans left in Kabul.”

“At a minimum, President Biden must unleash American air power to destroy every Taliban fighter in the vicinity of Kabul until we can save our fellow Americans,” he continued. “Anything less will further confirm Joe Biden’s impotence to the world.”

Rep. Kai Kahele
Rep. Kai Kahele
Sen. Kai Kahele in January 2020. Audrey McAvoy, File/AP
Formerly serving in the US Air Force, Kahele, a Democrat representing Hawaii, called on Biden for “swift, decisive action” in evacuating Afghans from the country after the Taliban regained control.

He reshared a video showing Afghans running around a plane about to take off in the country. The original tweet, posted by NBC News’ Richard Engel, said: “The desperation is complete. Afghans don’t want to be left behind as US evacuates.”

“As a C-17 mission commander I have never, ever, seen anything like this. No C-17 crew ever has,” Kahele said in response to the video. “Mr. President, it is time for swift, decisive action. The ability to secure this airfield is paramount to any air evacuation.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth
The former US Army helicopter pilot, who lost her legs in combat in the Iraq war, said in a statement on Monday night that her “attention is focused on the evacuation, which includes ensuring our nation leaves absolutely no stone unturned in our efforts to secure the safe return of my constituents, including American hostage Mark Ferichs, as well as all Americans in Afghanistan and on safely evacuating as many of our Afghan partners as possible.”

She also commented on the images coming out of Afghanistan calling them “tragic and incredibly difficult to watch, especially for the countless American servicemembers and military families who sacrificed greatly in that nation.”

Of evacuating Afghans who helped the US, she said: “We should not break our word to them in this desperate moment of need.”