Sen. Dan Sullivan released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s speech on the unraveling situation in Afghanistan:
“It has been a gut-wrenching few days for all Americans seeing our citizens being frantically ferried by helicopter in Kabul, echoing the tragic end of the Vietnam War. It did not have to be this way. President Biden chose to embark on a time-based withdrawal from Afghanistan, initially and incredibly choosing September 11, 2021 as the end date of America’s military presence in the country. What followed was the administration’s botched execution of its own plan. The issue today is not whether we eventually leave Afghanistan, but how we leave Afghanistan. Right now, thousands of Americans and our Afghan partners stand in harm’s way on a tarmac in Kabul—or worse, in Taliban-controlled areas elsewhere in the country—as America’s standing in the world erodes.
“Americans have been demanding clarity and resolve for five days from the President: How have we arrived at this stunning, yet predictable and avoidable outcome? How will you bring order to this chaos and bring our people and friends to safety? How will you prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists once again? In the past week, including in his address today, the President offered neither clarity nor resolve. Instead, he offered excuses and a perspective radically disconnected from the reality unfolding on the ground and the numerous warnings sounded by experts, including our own military leaders, and members of Congress, myself included, for months.
“Over the past two decades, there have been both accomplishments and mistakes made by four successive administrations regarding our mission in Afghanistan. But if the flag of the Taliban is flying over the U.S. embassy in Kabul on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Joe Biden will be solely responsible for that sickening and dispiriting image.
“The American people and our allies are left with decreasing confidence in this administration’s ability to lead as the President now returns to his vacation at Camp David. Given the debacle in Afghanistan, I worry that our adversaries will see this moment as an opportunity to test our country in other areas. Already, Communist China is questioning America’s commitment to Taiwan. If that happens, we better be ready, and we better be strong.
“Finally, I’m deeply disappointed that the Commander in Chief did not take the time to assure our brave service members and Gold Star families that their sacrifices in Afghanistan were not in vain.” – Sen. Dan Sullivan
The tens of thousands of Americans who deployed to Afghanistan, including many Alaskans, did exactly what their country asked of them—preventing further attacks on our homeland after 9/11 by bringing the fight to the enemy. Today, we need to pay particular attention to these Americans and their families, offering them our gratitude for all they’ve done to secure our nation.”
Sullivan is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and is in Alaska this week hearing from Alaskans. His last trip to Afghanistan was as a senator in 2017, when he visited deployed members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division of Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson and Alaska-based members of the Air Force.