August 30, 2021

Duckworth Statement on Completion of U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan


[HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL] – Combat Veteran and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years, issued the following statement today after the last U.S. troops departed Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan:

“My heartfelt appreciation and thoughts are with the families of the American servicemembers killed in the line of duty during last week’s terrorist attack in Kabul, with those recovering from their wounds as well as with the more than 800,000 servicemembers and all the military families who have served and sacrificed in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. My heart also goes out to the many wounded and killed Afghan civilians, especially those who’ve put themselves and their families at risk in order to support our nation’s mission. As President Biden said, we will continue hunting those responsible for this heinous attack and holding them accountable.

“Since Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, American troops bravely and tirelessly worked to execute their dangerous mission with precision and expertise in order to safely evacuate as many Americans who wanted to leave the country as possible. Despite their herculean efforts to airlift more than 123,000 people out of Afghanistan in a matter of days, there are still Americans who wish to come home, so our efforts to get them out cannot stop now. Our nation must redouble our efforts to negotiate and work with partners in the region to bring about safe passage for all Americans who want to return—including American hostage and Illinoisan Mark Frerichs.

“We also cannot forget the brave Afghans—many of whom bled alongside our troops—who aided our troops’ mission in that country for two decades and remain at risk, and we must continue to issue visas and other documentation to help those who want to resettle in America as well as hold the Taliban to their commitment to allow these Afghans with travel documents safe passage out of the country. Our military and our entire nation owe these Afghans a debt of gratitude, and we have a moral obligation to not only get them to safety, but to welcome them here and make them feel at home. We must also continue to engage diplomatically to ensure that the hard-fought gains—especially for Afghan women and girls—are not erased.

“Now that our airlift operations have concluded and the next phase of evacuation without U.S. troops on the ground begins, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee should quickly begin investigating the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces after two decades of American investment of resources and troops, and why we were unable to better anticipate it. I will push for that investigation to be both swift and comprehensive, and moving forward I will do everything in my power to ensure the mistakes made by Administrations of both parties—as well as Congress—over the last 20 years that made this evacuation necessary in the first place are both learned from and never repeated.”