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Afghanistan veterans fulfilled mission

By Rep. Jerry Carl

Since the United States entered Afghanistan in 2001, there have been more than 2,300 U.S. military deaths, as well as civilian deaths, in the fight against the Taliban, ISIS, and multiple other terrorist organizations. Last week, we saw this number grow by another 13 when American servicemembers assisting in the Kabul evacuation efforts were killed as a result of a horrific terrorist attack. This was the deadliest day for American troops in Afghanistan in just over a decade.

Today’s hyper-politicized environment has led to so much finger pointing about the war in Afghanistan – whether we should have invaded, how long we should have stayed, and how President Biden has handled the withdrawal. While there is a time and place to discuss each of these elements, it’s important to keep in mind our Afghanistan veterans fulfilled their mission by keeping America safe from terrorist attacks for the last 20 years.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States marked the deadliest attack on U.S. soil in our nation’s history. Al-Qaeda operatives, who were being harbored and supported by the Taliban (primarily in Afghanistan), killed more than 3,000 innocent Americans. President Bush swiftly responded to these attacks by entering Afghanistan for the purpose of rooting out the Taliban and ensuring al-Qaeda could never attack the United States homeland again. To that end, our Afghanistan veterans can claim mission success.

As President Biden finalizes the withdrawal from Afghanistan, our top priority should be ensuring every single American and American ally in the region is immediately brought to safety and security. We owe that to these brave men and women, and we cannot allow a single one of them to be left behind. Every person who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years was committed to taking out a brutal enemy and denying al-Qaeda terrorists a safe haven, and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude.

The war in Afghanistan is a reminder that freedom is not free – it is bought with a price. Our nation will never forget the thousands of servicemembers and civilians who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan to root out terrorism and protect our homeland. Because of them, the world is a better, safer place. Unfortunately, the battle against terrorism and those who wish to do America harm is not over, so we must stay aware and ready.

If you are a veteran, please know how grateful we are to you. If I or my office can ever be of service to you, please do not hesitate to reach out at carl.house.gov or 202-225-4931.