Arizona Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) released a statement slamming President Joe Biden’s botched operation to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan on the first anniversary of the incident.
“One year ago today, Joe Biden, and his incompetent woke military leadership, made the disastrous decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and surrender over $80 billion in equipment to the Taliban,” Gosar said in the statement. “I mourn for the thousands of our soldiers who died valiantly in a two-decade military campaign that was mishandled from the start by poor leadership.”
Gosar further called the withdrawal a “public humiliation of our country” that could have been avoided under Trump-era military leadership, which was replaced under the Biden administration. He also listed several of Biden’s other “incompetent” actions involving Afghanistan, including abandoning American citizens in the country, a fumbled drone missile strike meant to hit an ISIS-K member but which resulted in the death of 10 innocent civilians, and a failure to protect 13 U.S. service members from a suicide bomb attack at a Kabul airport.
“We remember the lives of the 13 heroes who needlessly died because of Joe Biden’s foolhardy decision. We won’t ever forget them,” Gosar said, concluding his message.
Arizona Rep. David Schwikert (R-AZ-06) also tweeted remembrance for the lives lost in the “reckless withdraw” last year.
America and the world will never forget the Biden administration’s reckless withdraw from Afghanistan.
One year later, we remember the tragic loss of 13 U.S. soldiers’ lives, and the hundreds of American citizens and allies Joe Biden left behind in the Taliban-run region.
— Rep. David Schweikert (@RepDavid) August 15, 2022
When the incident occurred in 2021, Biden faced immediate bipartisan backlash from Arizona leaders. According to AZ Central, Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09), who favored removing troops from Afghanistan, questioned “how this withdrawal could have gone differently.” Schwikert also supported removing troops from the country, but “that belief was premised on the idea that any withdrawal would be logically conducted in a safe and organized fashion,” he said.
As for the people left in Afghanistan, they have been under Taliban rule for the past year now.
Axios reported that the country has faced an economic crisis since America’s withdrawal. The Afghan government’s 2022 budget is down 60 percent compared to 2020. Existing outside sanctions on the Taliban have led to financial institutions restricting or blocking transactions involving Afghan bank accounts. On top of this, household goods inflation is at 52 percent year-on-year, and per capita income is down to a decade low.
Nearly 20 million Afghan citizens face hunger problems – almost half of the country’s population. According to the United Nations, citizens are “selling their children and their body parts” just to be able to feed their families. Axios points out that as much of the world’s attention has turned to Ukraine, Afghanistan aid groups are not receiving the funding they need.
Moreover, despite the Taliban’s promise to respect human rights after its takeover, especially for women, it appears this has not happened. The U.N. shared that the Taliban has cracked down on protests and silenced media outlets, with journalists being “arbitrarily arrested.” Women and girls across the country have been restricted from access to education, the workplace, and public life, meaning the next generation of girls in the country will not receive any secondary education. The de facto authorities have reportedly killed up to 160 former government members.
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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Paul Gosar” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Joe Biden” by The White House.