Rep. Andy Kim: US soldiers shouldn’t have left Afghanistan until all Americans were home
A New Jersey Democratic congressman says that the United States military should have remained in Afghanistan until all Americans had been airlifted out.
Rep. Andy Kim says that bringing home the remaining Americans stranded on the ground should now be the Biden administration’s top priority.
More than 100 American citizens, including some from New Jersey, remain stranded in Afghanistan, which is now under full Taliban control.
“I don’t trust the Taliban one bit,” says Kim.
Kim served as a civilian adviser to American military leaders on the ground in Afghanistan 10 years ago. He says he disagreed with President Joe Biden holding to the Aug. 31 deadline, and the president's plan to get the remaining Americans out by putting trust in the Taliban.
“That’s why I was pushing for us to try to get everybody out before the 31st. And if we couldn’t, to stay longer in order to be able to get them out,” says Kim. “I wanted to avoid this situation.”
“The bottom line – 90% of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave,” Biden said. “For those remaining Americans, there is no deadline.”
In North Jersey, a 20-year-old is still frantically trying to get his mother, father and 12-year-old sister – all American citizens – out of Afghanistan. Kim says he's spoken to others stranded following the U.S. pullout.
"I've been in touch, in just the last 24 hours, with a number of Americans who are still there. And they want to leave. And they did not procrastinate. This is not some situation where they just waited until the last minute. One of them is a 4-year-old girl,” says Kim.
Kim says that when the Americans do come back, there will still be fallout from the 20-yearlong war and the thousands of lives that were lost.
"This is immensely difficult for us as a country to comprehend. Just the failures and the challenges across four administrations of two presidents from each party. You know, this is something we as a country really need to grapple with,” says Kim.
Biden says withdrawing from Afghanistan means the United States can focus on challenges such as the resurgent threat from Russia and ascending power from China.