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In the days and weeks following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul last August, I heard from veterans across the country questioning their service over the previous two decades and there was outrage from military families who had lost loved ones in the Global War on Terror. I also received thousands of pieces of mail from everyday Americans fearing what may come from the fallout.
In an attempt to soothe a worried nation, President Biden made a promise after promise.
First, he promised that American troops would not leave Afghanistan until every single American who wanted to depart was evacuated. Both President Biden and members of his Cabinet assured us there were only roughly 100 Americans who wanted out of the country. And yet recent reports show that 800 Americans have been evacuated since August 2021. There’s no way around it – President Biden broke his promise to the Americans who were left behind, and to those who still remain.
One year later, while families across the nation are still waiting for the return of their loved ones, 13 American families, including one right here in my home of Red Oak, are facing an entirely different reality where there is no possibility of their loved ones returning home.
On Aug. 26, 2021, America lost 13 heroes at the hands of ISIS-K. After that day, President Biden made another promise – to avenge the deaths of those Americans. He promised to hold the terrorists accountable, saying, “The United States will never rest. We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down to the ends of the Earth, and you will pay the ultimate price.”
Yet again, one year later, the commander in chief’s promise remains empty. Tea US military has not targeted or conducted any counterterrorism strikes against ISIS-K in Afghanistan since America’s withdrawal. Those who planned the cowardly act remain at large, openly wreaking destruction and carnage. At least 26 terrorist attacks, many of which ISIS-K has claimed responsibility for, have struck the Afghan people in metropolitan Kabul since our withdrawal.
In the fallout of Afghanistan, President Biden has not only damaged our capacity to protect the homeland; he has cut the legacy out of his own administration’s promise to uphold human rights.
Over the last two decades, Afghan women and girls saw unprecedented freedom following a period of brutal fundamentalist rule. Women were able to attend secondary school, receive degrees and have careers. As the Taliban took over the country, there was global concern for what was to come for the women and girls who remained in the country.
President Biden repeatedly promised to hold the Taliban accountable and protect the rights of Afghan women and girls. Despite this promise, over the last year we have seen the Taliban unravel significant, hard-won gains for the women of Afghanistan. Women are now prohibited from working, forced to cover themselves in the burqa, and required to travel, any distance, with a male family member.
The Biden administration’s abandonment of Americans, inability to serve justice for our soldiers killed in action, and ignorance of the human rights disaster they precipitated in Afghanistan have substituted sound strategy for an ad hoc response of willful negligence.
Every day that passes, more promises go unmet – and threats to America’s national security and stability grow more imminent.