U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, said Monday that President Joe Biden’s administration should have evacuated thousands of Afghan allies several months ago and warned that their lives are now at risk.
“I’m not going to mince my words on this: We didn’t need to be in this position,” the Centennial Democrat said during a news conference. “We didn’t need to be seeing the scenes we’re seeing at Kabul’s airport with our Afghan friends climbing aboard C-17s.”
“We should have started this evacuation months ago,” Crow added. “Had we done that, tens of thousands of folks could have been brought to safety. It could have been done deliberately and methodically. That was a missed opportunity.”
The collapse of Afghanistan’s government over the weekend has left tens of thousands Afghans who translated for or otherwise helped U.S. soldiers desperate for a way out of the country. Those who remain fear they will be killed by the Taliban, a terror group that controls the country.
Crow and several other congressmen from both political parties used the news conference to urge the Biden administration to do whatever is militarily necessary to keep open Kabul’s airport, which had closed when Afghans tried to cling to the side of a plane.
Last month, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed Crow’s bill to increase the number of special immigration visas for Afghan citizens. The U.S. Senate passed a similar bill and it was signed into law at the end of July, adding 8,000 visas. But only a few thousand refugees have arrived in the U.S.
“They’re living heroes but they’re not going to be living for long if we don’t act today,” Tom Perriello with the pro-refugee group Open Society U.S. said during the news conference.
Colorado Republicans placed blame for the deteriorating situation squarely on Biden. The Colorado GOP called out Crow and other Colorado Democrats by name Sunday, urging them to “put aside their blind loyalty to President Biden” and demand he do more.
“This is worse than Saigon and will go down as one of Joe Biden’s greatest failures,” said U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs. “This debacle will reverberate across time and space, damaging our image and sowing terrorism and chaos throughout an already volatile region.”
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, tweeted Monday, “If Biden leaves our Afghan allies behind, he will be single-handedly responsible for the destruction of our nation’s international credibility.” Buck also urged Americans stuck in Afghanistan to call his office for assistance.
“Joe (Biden) has a 48 year history of making bad decisions,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, a Silt Republican, tweeted Sunday. “Add this weekend’s foreign policy decisions to the list.”
That tweet drew a response from Crow, who criticized Boebert for being one of 16 House members who voted against the visas bill. Boebert tweeted back that she voted against it because amendments she supported were not added to the bill.
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