Dear Friend, This week has been difficult for our nation. We joined the entire world in watching the continuation of President Biden’s failed Afghanistan withdrawal and the chaos that has gripped the nation as a result. My team and I have been working diligently to assist those on the ground, communicate with military personnel, and pressure the Biden Administration to prioritize the American people over deals with the Taliban.
Although the situation in Afghanistan weighs heavily on the hearts of every American, these events may be particularly traumatic for our veterans. If you are a veteran, please know that our country stands with you and knows that you performed your duty to our country honorably. We will never forget your sacrifice. Our country is there for you, but if you need help now, please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1 or by visiting their website. If you know a veteran struggling with this situation, please share this information with them and let them know they are not alone.
American troops should remain in Afghanistan until every American and Afghan ally is evacuated safely. In order to do this, President Biden must take a strong stance against the Taliban and dictate the terms to them— that we will not leave until our people have been evacuated. Unfortunately, President Biden’s refusal to extend the August 31st evacuation deadline should be seen as nothing less than the capitulation of the United States to the Taliban. This cannot stand.
Upon reports that President Biden would not extend the arbitrary August 31st withdrawal deadline, I led a letter to the President urging him and his administration to maintain resources in Afghanistan to ensure Americans and our allies are secured. Reports from the ground indicate that it is unlikely these evacuations can be completed by this deadline, and some reports indicate that is unlikely that evacuations can be completed by September 11th of this year. However, with all of the uncertainties of this situation, one thing must be certain:
America will not leave our citizens behind, and we will uphold our promises to our Afghan allies.
President Biden must convey this message of strength to the Taliban and to the world. Anything less would weaken our nation as a leader on the world stage and signal to our enemies that, under this President, we have become weak in our fight against evil and terrorism.
You can read the letter Representatives Palazzo, Kelly, and I sent to President Biden below:
Dear President Biden:
We are dismayed at reports that you are not planning to extend your self-imposed August 31, 2021, deadline to withdraw United States troops from Afghanistan. As the world watches America end our twenty-year mission in Afghanistan, it is critically important that we not complete the withdrawal of our troops until American citizens and our Afghan allies are evacuated or brought to safety.
We are deeply concerned about the ability to meet our evacuation and rescue mission ahead of this date. We support the Administration’s recent statements highlighting the priority of bringing American citizens home and committing to keep our troops in Afghanistan until Americans are removed from the country. We stand ready to assist in this effort.
It also is critical that we honor our commitments to our Afghan allies and ensure they are protected from perilous Taliban retribution in the coming days. We ask that you continue to prioritize Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and SIV applications, as well as religious minorities and other refugees in danger in Afghanistan. Our continued support for our Afghan allies is crucial to address imminent threats against these friends of the United States, as well as to demonstrate our reliability to allies across the globe.
We urge your Administration to ensure that adequate resources remain in Afghanistan until our citizens and allies are safe and this mission is complete.
Please continue to pray for the American citizens, soldiers, and allies threatened by the Taliban. For more information about the situation in Afghanistan, please listen to my interview with Y’all Politics from earlier this week.
Member of Congress