August 24, 2021
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today after President Joe Biden recommitted to a calendar-based deadline of August 31 to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, even though an unknown number of Americans and Afghan allies remain stuck in the country:
“I was surprised at the lack of a coordinated whole-of-government approach to the evacuation of Afghanistan, but I’m shocked that President Biden is not extending the withdrawal timeline. Worse, he openly states this is a result of demands from the Taliban and threats from ISIS-K. Terrorists are setting the agenda, just as I warned would happen. I cannot believe that our President has watched the human suffering that has resulted from this botched process and decided to double down on his arbitrary, unrealistic deadline — knowing that he is leaving, quite literally, countless Americans, and Afghans who helped us, behind.
“It’s unacceptable that by now we still have no clue how many Americans remain in Afghanistan. I’m frustrated, but not surprised, the Biden administration hasn’t been able to figure out this crucial information — their management of this process has been a failure from the get-go. Once again, the President is ignoring conditions on the ground — he is pulling troops while American lives, and the lives of our trusted Afghan partners, are on the line.
“As my colleagues and I urged last week, President Biden must use every possible resource to get Americans out of Afghanistan. If President Biden insists on adhering to this conditions-blind deadline, more needs to be done immediately. Right now, our brave service members are risking everything to evacuate both American citizens and eligible Afghan partners, and I’m working with my colleagues here in Congress to do what we can to get folks out as well. The decisions of the Biden administration leading up to this disastrous evacuation will scar a generation of Afghan women and children — if they are lucky enough to survive. I pray that we’re able to save as many souls as we can within this inappropriate and inadequate timeline.
“President Biden’s decision created this chaos. He will not be judged by how many Americans he got out, but how many Americans he left behind.”