COLORADO SPRINGS – The fall of Afghanistan and the nation’s capital of Kabul over the weekend has brought shock and criticism around Washington D.C.
Two Colorado Congressmen sit on the Armed Service committee in the United States House of Representatives, but on opposite sides of the aisle.
Republican Doug Lamborn, the ranking member on the committee, said the crisis is “worse than Saigon” when American forces left Vietnam.
“The Taliban and the terrorists in their wake do pose a threat to the United States,” Lamborn said Monday. “[Afghanistan] will be a failed state.”
Lamborn broke with President Donald Trump when he initially proposed a rapid draw-down and exit of U.S Military Forces from the troubled nation in 2019 and signed a peace agreement with the group in 2020.
Lamborn is concerned over the intelligence that could be lost that, he says, prevented attacks on American soil.
“Something was working,” Lamborn said about the War, “Yeah, Afghanistan was a difficult situation, complex, and tragic in many ways but we didn’t see attacks on the homeland like we did on 9/11.”
Lamborn says military advisors would tell him in committee hearings that the decision to withdraw wasn’t the best option, but that President Joe Biden makes the final decision.
“We’ve seen this collapse that was a lot faster than anyone would have predicted. So, the answer lies in doing a better job of training so they can protect their own country and there were obviously failures in that.” Lamborn said.
Rep. Crow had supported the exit when Biden announced it in April. Crow served as an Army Ranger on two deployments to Afghanistan and, in a statement at the time, said if there would have been a military solution “we would have found one years ago.”
“I support the Biden Administration’s decision to finally bring our longest war to an end, but we must do so in a way that keeps our promises to our allies, protects the women and children of Afghanistan, and ensures a safer and more secure world,” Crow said in a statement in April.
Monday, Crow’s tune is similar as he pleas for a humanitarian rescue effort for the Afghani’s that helped the United States, like several translators, whose lives are at risk for helping the U.S Military.
Crow criticized the delay in getting those people out of the country, saying it should have been done months ago and it was a “missed opportunity” for the United States.
“The mistakes of the last couple of weeks and couple of days as this very tragic scene unfolds at Kabul international airport and around the country. We are here today with a very simple message: keep Jabul Airport open.” Crow said.
It comes as 20 years of fighting in the country leaves veterans who risked their lives in Afghanistan reeling with confusion and, for some, depression brought on by the gravity of working to build a nation that fell in a matter of weeks.
“Your service mattered,” Crow said. “You stood in that long line of Americans who stood up generation after generation, take the oath, answered the call when your country called for it. You should be very proud of that because we are very proud of it.”