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Illinois lawmakers react to government collapse in Afghanistan

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. speaks as President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in D.C.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. speaks as President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in D.C. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Illinois lawmakers react to government collapse in Afghanistan

August 18, 10:00 AM August 18, 10:00 AM

Illinois lawmakers are reacting to the stunning collapse of the government in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has taken control of a majority of territory after President Joe Biden began pulling out American troops, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Images of unrest and desperation at the airport in Kabul spread across the world Monday as the Taliban took the city and thousands of Afghans sought to flee.

In Peoria on Tuesday, Democratic U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said they were caught off guard.

“The Taliban conquered nine provincial capitals in 13 days,” Durbin said. “No one saw that coming. I didn’t and those who briefed us didn’t. We were trying to have an orderly evacuation of Americans and the circumstances overwhelmed us.”

Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger told CNN there is plenty of blame to go around.

“The Republicans have failed you and the Democrats have failed you,” Kinzinger said. “The last president failed you on Afghanistan, and this one is failing you on Afghanistan.”

Republican Congressman Rodney Davis said this is an example of the problems with Biden’s foreign policy.

“I don’t care if you are a Democrat or a Republican, what we see in Afghanistan is absolutely heartbreaking,” Davis said. “This should not have a political litmus test. America should stand together against what the Biden administration has botched miserably.”

Davis added that the Taliban now has control of more territories than they did before 9-11, more room for al-Qaida operatives to operate and a threat to American security.

Republican Congressman Darin LaHood, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation, released a statement on the situation in Afghanistan.

“President Biden and his Administration’s failure of leadership has enabled a return to a pre-9/11 Afghanistan – creating a fertile breeding ground for radical terrorism to grow once again. President Biden has abandoned men and women who served as local partners in Afghanistan, endangered the lives of innocent women and children, and disrespected the sacrifice of the brave men and women in our military who served the United States and kept Americans safe throughout the last 20 years. President Biden owns the horrific scenes to come from Afghanistan and his actions threaten the security of America and our allies.”

Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also issued a statement.

“Right now, my attention is focused on the evacuation, which includes ensuring our nation leaves absolutely no stone unturned in our efforts to secure the safe return of my constituents, including American hostage Mark Frerichs, as well as all Americans in Afghanistan and on safely evacuating as many of our Afghan partners as possible.”

Duckworth’s office is urging anyone who knows of any Illinoisan in Afghanistan who needs assistance to contact her office.

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