WASHINGTON, D.C.?– Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after President Biden announced that the withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan will be complete by August 31, 2021.
“After nearly twenty years of war in Afghanistan we have successfully prevented transnational terrorists from planning and launching an attack from the region. Therefore, it is time to withdraw our military forces and thanks to the leadership of President Biden our troops are finally coming home. As we mark this critical step toward the end of our country’s longest war, we also honor the service and the sacrifices made by our service members and their families.
“I have served on the Armed Services Committee for twenty-four years and I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that ours is the single most powerful, professional, and effective military in the world. As the war in Afghanistan has demonstrated, however, there are certain problems that lack a purely military solution. While our military presence helped establish the conditions for an Afghan government as well as built, trained, and developed the Afghan Security Forces and institutions, an indefinite troop presence is not and has never been our objective. It is now up to the Afghan people to decide their future as they continue to grapple with their ongoing civil war. The Taliban poses a real threat to stability, but the Afghan National Security Forces are highly capable.
“Our goal in the region remains unchanged: to prevent terrorists with transnational intentions from launching an attack against the United States or our allies. Those who would seek to do the United States and our allies harm must know that our commitment to that mission is unwavering. Similarly, our commitment to the Afghan government and people remains steadfast even as the security situation could become more tenuous – a troop presence is not a prerequisite to diplomatic, economic, and development engagement; and we will continue to support efforts that enable the citizens and the government of Afghanistan to achieve peace and stability.”