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Cole Statement on the Disastrous Situation in Afghanistan

August 15, 2021
Press Release

Moore, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released the following statement in response to the ongoing and worsening situation in Afghanistan. 

“The unfolding and accelerating disaster in Afghanistan is a human tragedy and a severe threat to the long-term security and credibility of the United States,” said Cole. “No American should doubt that our enemies around the world are celebrating this defeat. The fact that even our own safe evacuation of the embassy is requiring the redeployment of U.S. troops underscores the Biden Administration’s lack of understanding of the situation on the ground. They were, unfortunately, taken completely by surprise at the Taliban’s utter and almost instantaneous reconquering of the nation. 

“More importantly, those adversaries will take the collapse of the Afghan government as a sign of American weakness and lack of resolve. We can expect our enemies to try and exploit this setback by challenging the United States on a range of fronts in a variety of ways.

“Americans should have no illusions about the nature of the evil regime about to take power in Afghanistan. The Taliban are enemies of America. They hosted and sheltered Osama bin Laden, and they maintain robust relations with the likes of ISIS and Al-Qaeda. They can be expected to impose a brutal, medieval fundamentalist Islamic regime that will oppress minorities and women. It will be the antithesis of the democratic and egalitarian values championed by the United States.

“A disaster of this magnitude has many causes and involves multiple administrations and Congresses. However, there is no doubt that the Biden Administration’s decision to ignore the advice of military experts led to this precipitate and chaotic collapse on the ground. The president was warned repeatedly that the modest American force in Afghanistan that he chose to withdraw was critical to maintaining stability and holding the Taliban at bay. Unfortunately, the president ignored that advice in the interest of making a desired political point, and now he must accept his share of the responsibility for this humiliating national defeat and for the human tragedy that inevitably will unfold on the ground.

“Indeed, we can expect the Taliban and other terrorists and extremists to exploit this reckless abandonment of the people and principles we spent decades of blood and treasure to protect. We can expect them to challenge us on other fronts,” concluded Cole.