Marine, Congressman: Time to finally leave Afghanistan

Matt Saintsing
October 08, 2018 - 10:48 am

U.S. Army photo by Sean Kimmons

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The conflict in Afghanistan turned 17 over the weekend, and one Congressman— also a Marine— is calling to end of the war, once and for all. 

“It’s clear that continuing on the current course is not in our national interest,” Marine Corps veteran Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz), says in a piercing statement Sunday. “American troops should come home.”  

The reason, he claims, is that the U.S. sought out to accomplish specific goals, and did just that. 

Photo by Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY NETWORK

“Our objectives following (9/11) were to destroy al-Qaeda, kill Obama bin Laden, and prevent a recurrence of an ungoverned space in Afghanistan that allowed for terrorists to plot and plan attacks on Americans and our allies,” says  Gallego. 

“We accomplished all of those objectives years ago.” 

Gallego’s disavowal of America’s longest war comes just days after Army Spc. Jame Slape died in Helmand province from an improvised explosive device (IED), the seventh U.S. service member killed in the country this year. 

But while Gallego asserts “it is time to leave,” he adds “we must do so responsibly.” To deny the Taliban an opportunity to regain power, “Our security assistance to the Afghan government, armed forces, and national police must continue." 

Nearly 14,000 U.S. troops are deployed in harm’s way in Afghanistan, according to the Defense Department, but their roles vary from providing training and advice to partner forces, to conducting specialized combat missions shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghan troops. 

Gallego acknowledges the nearly 25,000 Americans who have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan. “Many thousands more bear the mental and emotional scars of combat,” he adds. 

“We must remember their sacrifice as we seek the best interests of our country, which involves the return of their comrades still in Afghanistan to their friends, family, and a grateful nation.”

Operation Enduring Freedom, the war in Afghanistan, kicked off Oct. 7, 2001, as a direct result of the terrorist attacks of September 11th. 

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