Mass. Congressman Who Served in Afghanistan Says Its Gov't Can Hold Kabul

Rep. Jake Auchincloss served in Afghanistan in 2012 as a platoon commander

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Congressman Jake Auchincloss, who represents Massachusetts' fourth district, says the United States is making the right move by drawing down our presence in Afghanistan.

The Taliban continues to advance towards to capital, capturing key cities along the way.

Auchincloss is a Marine veteran who led patrols through villages contested by the Taliban in 2012. He has a unique perspective on the situation happening now in that country.

“Now is an emergency, yes, but also an opportunity for the Afghans and Afghan leadership in particular to seize hold of their nation and forge it by holding on to Kabul,” he said.

Just weeks before the U.S. is scheduled to end its war in Afghanistan, the Biden administration is rushing 3,000 fresh troops to Kabul.

Asked if he thought the government could hold on to the capital, the congressman replied, “Yes, I do think they can.”

Auchincloss said the U.S. spent 20 years and $2 trillion to build up a 300,000 person army and air force. The counterterror mission in Afghanistan was successful, he said, but a counterinsurgency mission could have never succeeded.

“We would win every battle,” said Auchincloss. “The United States military cleaned the Taliban’s clock every time they got into a skirmish and yet we would still lose the war because counterinsurgency is the act of building a nation and only the people of that nation can build it.”

He said he understands why fellow veterans are frustrated by what is happening on the ground now after the U.S. spent two decades there.

“The anger and the frustration that fellow veterans feel watching these scenes unfurl, and I feel them as well, should be directed first and foremost at the national security officials for the last two decades who have lied to the American people about the viability of the counterinsurgency mission,” said Auchincloss.

The Congressman said he plans to question national security officials at a briefing two weeks from now.

President Joe Biden announced Thursday that officials are on track to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31. The president commended military leadership for achieving their counter-terror objectives in the region and defended the decision to withdraw, saying “We did not go to Afghanistan to nation-build. That is the right and the responsibility of the Afghan people alone to decide their future and how they want to run their country.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized an additional 1,000 U.S. troops for deployment to Afghanistan, according to a statement from a defense official. That raises to roughly 5,000 the number of U.S. troops to ensure what Biden calls an “orderly and safe drawdown” of American and allied personnel. U.S. troops will also help in the evacuation of Afghans who worked with the military during the nearly two-decade war.

The last-minute decision to re-insert thousands of U.S. troops into Afghanistan reflected the dire state of security as the Taliban seized control of multiple Afghan cities in a few short days.

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