Congressman Biggs Urges Biden Administration to Continue U.S. Troop Withdrawal from Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Andy Biggs led a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to continue to remove United States servicemembers from Afghanistan in the coming
February 22, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Dear Mr. President:
I respectfully urge you to continue to remove United States servicemembers from Afghanistan in the coming weeks, with the goal of ensuring all our brave men and women in uniform return from the theater before May.
Last year’s landmark Doha Agreement established a sensible plan for our nation’s exit from Afghanistan. Under the terms of this pact, the Taliban committed to preventing terrorist activity on Afghan soil and to releasing one thousand Afghan security force prisoners. In exchange, our nation’s negotiators agreed to draw down the United States military presence in Afghanistan on a timetable leading to full withdrawal at the end of April. Finally, in a separate but related agreement, the Taliban committed to negotiations with the Afghan government in Kabul aimed at establishing a lasting ceasefire and power-sharing arrangement.
To be sure, this has been a rocky peace process, and fighting between the Taliban and the Kabul government continues. But the simple fact that both sides also continue to talk with each other is a very encouraging sign of progress. Even more important, not a single United States servicemember has been killed in Afghanistan since the Doha Agreement was signed nearly one year ago.
I was therefore disappointed by the recent findings of the Afghanistan Study Group Final Report, which recommends that the United States withdrawal date be extended “in order to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result.” While the Study Group recognizes, to its credit, that the Doha peace process is a worthy framework, its call for more time is an all-too-familiar slippery slope.
The war in Afghanistan has already lasted nearly two decades. Over the course of that conflict, we have lost thousands of our brave warriors and spent trillions of dollars. Staying in Afghanistan any longer will only continue to place the lives of more servicemembers at risk.
Furthermore, a continued United States presence in the region is unlikely to lessen the threat of terrorism; in fact, it is more likely to heighten the threat. As the Study Group itself concedes, “the Taliban have signaled publicly that if all international forces are not withdrawn by May 2021…they will resume their ‘jihad’ against the foreign presence and will withdraw from the peace process.”
Let us not delude ourselves: On May 1, Afghanistan will not look like a beacon of democracy and prosperity. Far from it. But at least it will be on a better potential path. Over this past year especially, we have helped the people of Afghanistan to imagine a brighter future. Now the Afghanis need to be responsible for their own destiny going forward.
Mr. President, I greatly appreciated your bold decision earlier this month to end United States involvement in the Saudi-led offensive in Yemen. I hope that you will now turn your attention to putting a long-overdue end to America’s longest war. I am very confident that an overwhelming majority of Americans across this country—including many mothers and fathers in Mesa, Arizona, and Scranton, Pennsylvania—would thank you for doing so.
Member of Congress
Congressman Andy Biggs is a third-term Representative from Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, representing parts of Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek. Congressman Biggs is a member of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Reform committees. He lives with his wife, Cindy, in Gilbert.