Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign
Relations Subcommittee on Near East,
South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Tuesday joined CNN’s The
Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer to discuss the Biden administration’s efforts
to evacuate Americans and our Afghan partners before the August 31st
withdrawal deadline and the need for Congress to conduct a comprehensive review
of the past two decades at war.
On the August 31st withdrawal deadline, Murphy said: “We shouldn't let the Taliban dictate when we end operations to rescue and save American citizens, period, stop. But there is good reason why the president wants to wrap this up in the next week. We only have 2,500 troops there right now. We don't have any Afghan army partners as we did over the course of the last 20 years…I think our goal should be to finish this operation in the next seven days, have a contingency plan, but be perfectly honest with the American people about what it may mean – the cost to American lives – if we choose to stay beyond the 31st.”
On the importance of a full accounting of what went wrong in the past 20 years in Afghanistan, Murphy said: “But I also don't want to let my Republican friends who cheer led this war for the last 20 years get away without assessing the long story that led us to this moment. We have twice as many Afghan partners we have to evacuate because we stayed in this war ten years longer than we should have. And so when we do an accounting of this moment, Congress should also make sure to do a full review of how we got here over the last two decades.”
On the Biden administration’s successful evacuation of more than 70,000 Americans and Afghan partners upon the overnight collapse of the Afghan government, Murphy said: “For those that say the Biden administration should have sort of held control of all of Kabul in the wake of the disintegration of the Afghan military, I think that's a fantasy that is not based in reality. The Biden administration has been dealt a very tough hand here, and in the last 12 days, they’ve gotten [70,700] people out of that country. I think that that's a significant achievement. There will be all sorts of opportunity to go back and correct for what went wrong, but we shouldn't shy away from saying that our military has done a commendable job under very difficult circumstances of getting a lot of people out of that country in a short period of time.”
On efforts to evacuate Connecticut residents, Murphy said: “I have Connecticut residents that are still stuck in Afghanistan, and we're working those cases as we speak right now. Every day we're trying to work on new and innovative means to guarantee safe passage.”
Murphy authored an op-ed in USA Today in support of President Biden’s decision to end the longest war in our nation’s history. Murphy released a statement after the Taliban took control of the presidential palace in Kabul. Last week, Murphy delivered remarks on the Senate floor on the situation in Afghanistan. Murphy has long been supportive of President Biden’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Click here to view the entirety of Murphy’s interview.