Allen: Answers, accountability in Afghanistan withdrawal wanted on 9/11 anniversary

Augusta Chronicle

Twenty years ago, on September 11, 2001, evil breached our shores when terrorists hijacked four planes and carried out suicide attacks against our nation. We will never forget the passengers aboard these fatal flights and those who were killed when those planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the fields of rural Pennsylvania.

In the days, months and weeks that followed, our nation launched a mission to hunt down these terrorists and hold them accountable.

Over the past two decades, we’ve seen sons, daughters, brothers, and sisters make sacrifices in the fight against terrorism – including thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice. It is because of their service and bravery that we’ve been able to prevent a similar attack on the homeland and take out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks. These actions are something to be immensely proud of, and I cannot thank our brave service men and women enough.

Like many of you, I understood the need to bring our troops home. But what we have seen transpire over the past few weeks following President Biden’s horrific withdrawal in Afghanistan is unconscionable, leading to dire consequences.

Within a matter of days, the Taliban seized control of the country as Americans and our allies were stuck in immediate danger waiting to be evacuated to safety. We now see terrorist groups emboldened by the haphazard withdrawal, including ISIS-K, who is responsible for the bombing outside the Kabul airport that led to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members – the deadliest attack against U.S. troops in Afghanistan in over a decade. We must never forget their sacrifice so others may know freedom, which is why I cosponsored legislation to posthumously award these fallen heroes Congressional Gold Medals.

President Biden is responsible for this foreign policy disaster, and he is lying to the American people; this was not a binary choice between a forever war or a chaotic withdrawal.

When President Trump was planning for the withdrawal of troops he made clear that the U.S. would not leave if certain conditions were not met. Unfortunately, what we’ve seen unfold was both predictable and preventable, as there were warnings of what would happen due to a hasty exit. Biden ignored them and pushed forward with his arbitrary deadline – even when it meant leaving Americans behind. This failed leadership has shown he is incapable of serving as Commander-in-Chief. That’s why many members of Congress, including myself, have called for his resignation, along with Secretary of State Blinken.

Both the President and his administration must be held accountable, and Congress must conduct a thorough investigation and oversight in the coming weeks and months. We have U.S. military equipment in the hands of terrorists while our adversaries, like China and Russia, are taking careful note of our failures as they plan their next moves. The long-term geopolitical consequences are real and must be addressed.

I will not stop fighting until we get answers and safely evacuate every American citizen and ally who has helped protect our troops over the past 20 years. My staff has been working around the clock and in communication with over 500 folks from Georgia’s 12th District who know someone stranded in Afghanistan.

On this 20th anniversary of that solemn day, let’s honor all who have served in defense of freedom, and stay vigilant in the fight against terrorism that continues today.

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