Statement by Rep. Wild on Completion of U.S. Operations in Afghanistan
For the past twenty years and under administrations of both parties, our troops have served valiantly on the frontlines in Afghanistan. Despite being placed in the middle of an unwinnable war—compounded by intelligence, policy, and logistical failures never of their own making—our troops never wavered from helping the Afghan people and, during the evacuation, protecting U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghan allies desperate to leave the country. Today, as we reflect on twenty years at war and honor the service of men and women in uniform, we also remember those who lost their lives, including the 13 brave, loving Americans who died in the course of our withdrawal from Afghanistan.
As I have said repeatedly, the American people deserve answers about the timeline and manner in which the evacuation process was carried out—and my continuing calls for accountability are directed not at any sole administration, but at the cascading sequence of events that led to the circumstances surrounding this evacuation effort. I look forward to pursuing those answers, yet at the same time, I commend President Biden and our military leadership for taking the tough and courageous step of finally bringing our troops home and for overseeing an unprecedented effort to airlift more than 116,000 people in just two weeks. Now, it falls on all of us to remember our Afghan allies and to continue working to bring all of them to safety.
Today, and every day going forward, it is my hope that we will honor the immeasurable sacrifices of men and women in uniform by welcoming them home with actions, and not just words. After putting their lives on the line for all of us, the very least that these generations of veterans should be able to expect is that they won’t have to struggle against the odds in order to live a life of dignity and opportunity. And when it comes to putting American servicemembers in harm’s way in the future, I hope that policymakers in Washington will remember the right lessons from this moment: to never send our troops into open-ended conflicts without a clear and realistic mission—and the resources to achieve it.
To all those from my community and communities across our country who wore our nation’s uniform in Afghanistan, and to their families: you have my enduring gratitude and my solemn commitment to work towards shaping a future worthy of your sacrifices and service.