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Colorado lawmakers respond to crisis in Afghanistan

Posted at 1:24 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 10:14:06-04

COLORADO — We're hearing from Colorado lawmakers at the state and federal level weighing in on the handling of the crisis in Afghanistan as the country falls to the Taliban.

The Taliban has nearly taken over all of Afghanistan as the U.S. continues to withdraw from the Middle Eastern country. The Biden administration and other top U.S. officials have said they didn’t anticipate Afghanistan’s cities to fall to the Taliban as quickly as they did as American troops left the country.

The U.S. has deployed thousands of troops to the country to assist with evacuating U.S. and allied personnel, as well as Afghans who have helped America and those at special risk from the Taliban advance.

Although Biden is facing criticism for the way the U.S. has withdrawn from Afghanistan, the president is standing by his decision to end the nation’s longest war.

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The following are public comments and comments made to the media by your elected officials. News5 will update this story as more information becomes available.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican who serves on the Armed Services Committee and represents El Paso and Teller counties, is calling this the "worst foreign policy disaster in a generation."

In his scathing rebuke of the President Biden and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Lamborn said, “The security and humanitarian disaster unfolding in Afghanistan is far worse than the Fall of Saigon. The military equipment and infrastructure seized by the Taliban while Americans and our allies remain in harm’s way will have dire and far-reaching consequences for decades. This humiliating disaster is the culminating event of a career of foreign policy missteps by Joe Biden. When Saigon fell, the North Vietnamese never posed a threat to the homeland of the United States. However, in this case, we know that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups will attempt to take advantage of the failed state in Afghanistan."

Rep. Jason Crow, (D) 6th District, and former Army Ranger, called together fellow members of Congress, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and members of advocacy groups to present an argument of what humanitarian efforts need to take place to secure our allies working to flee the Taliban. In a statement, he says, "There will be time to debate the failures, missteps, and lost opportunities of the past 20 years, but today our mission is clear: hold the Kabul airport as long as possible and get all U.S. citizens and as many Afghan partners out as possible.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) represents Colorado's 3rd district, which covers Pueblo, Durango, and Grand Junction. Rep. Boebert sent out several tweets about the situation in Afghanistan. After President Biden's speech on Monday, she tweeted a response saying "Biden’s speech was a disingenuous, incoherent lie. The American people are not arguing that we should have stayed in Afghanistan. We’re furious that you abandoned Americans on the ground and are the most incompetent President in American history."

Rep. Joe Neguse (D) represents Colorado's 2nd district, which is based in Boulder and stretches to Fort Collins. He wrote on Twitter: "As a son of refugees, these images from Afghanistan are heartbreaking. Now is the moment to expand asylum for those who need it most. The U.S. government must honor it’s word and ensure our Afghan partners are evacuated. #Afghanistan." Rep. Neguse’s parents immigrated to the United States from Eritrea.

Rep. Ken Buck (R) represents Colorado's 4th Congressional district, which covers Colorado's eastern plains. Rep. Buck responded to the crisis on Twitter saying: "I am currently working to help Afghan interpreters secure SIVs. We cannot abandon those who risked their lives to help U.S. forces." He also went on to criticize President Biden, saying that he must take responsibility for the crisis.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) represents Colorado's 7th congressional district, which covers some of the Denver suburbs. After watching Biden's speech he said this on Twitter: "This is a sad ending to a long war. Right now, the focus for President Biden and his administration needs to be getting all U.S. military members, citizens and partners out of the region as safely and as quickly as possible. #Afghanistan"

Senator John Hickenlooper wrote on Twitter, "What we’re witnessing in Afghanistan is heartbreaking. Right now we need to do everything we can to get American citizens and our Afghan allies out safely — we can’t turn our backs on those who have risked everything to help us and build a different future for their nation. This is especially painful for all of our veterans and servicemembers, particularly families who lost loved ones in the Middle East. We’re forever grateful for your service and sacrifice."

Gov. Jared Polis (D). On Sunday, Gov. Polis released a statement on Facebook about the crisis in Afghanistan. He expressed his support for pulling out the country and said that "the rapid fall of the US-backed government shows the true folly of our 20-year nation-building effort." He also expressed his condolences to Colorado families who lost servicemembers during the war along with Colorado veterans who served.