SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement to mark the one-year anniversary of the completion of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which ended America’s longest war.
“One year has passed since President Biden finally put an end to our country’s longest war. While we have ended our military presence in Afghanistan, we remain vigilant and engaged in Afghanistan and around the world in order to prevent acts of terrorism. We also remain deeply grateful to all those military personnel, intelligence professionals, and others who served with honor in support of our mission in Afghanistan. In particular, we remember and honor the men and women who gave their lives in Afghanistan, those who bear the seen and unseen wounds of war, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in Kabul during an unprecedented airlift operation that brought more than 120,000 U.S. citizens, citizens of our allies, and at-risk Afghans to safety. We owe them a debt that cannot be repaid.
“For twenty years, the United States sent service members and civilians to Afghanistan to pursue those who planned 9/11, hold those who provided them safe harbor accountable, and prevent another attack against the homeland. These are missions that our service members conducted bravely and at great cost. But after two decades, we could not continue to ask service members to risk their lives trying to accomplish something beyond a military mission: the creation of an independent Afghan government that could provide for its own security. I remain hopeful that the bipartisan Afghanistan War Commission created by last year’s National Defense Authorization Act will deliver an honest assessment of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021. The American people deserve a thorough, thoughtful assessment of the totality of our involvement.
“The year following the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan has proven the wisdom at the heart of President Biden’s difficult decision. The successful strike earlier this month against former Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri demonstrates that the United States does not need boots on the ground in Afghanistan to effectively achieve our counterterrorism priorities. Withdrawing the U.S. military presence from Afghanistan one year ago was the right decision and has allowed the U.S. military to shift resources to better meet the evolving threats our country faces. One year later, it remains the right choice.”