Local Congressmen react to Afghanistan pullout

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The U.S. pullout from Afghanistan continues as the Taliban pushes in to take control. Congressman John Katko (R-24th District) and Congressman Joe Morelle (D-25th District) weighed in on the U.S. military and contractors leaving Afghanistan Wednesday.

Congressman Katko says from an optical standpoint, this pullout looks similar to Vietnam in 1975. 

“The evacuation from the embassy, people clinging to airplanes…” Katko said.

Katko believes that leaving will expose the US and leave it less safe. He says it’s too late to go back in and try and fix this situation — unless we’re willing to shed American blood again. 

“And I don’t think anyone wants to do that,” Katko said. In fact, that was probably the root cause for trying to get out of there in the first place.”

According to Katko, President Joe Biden did not listen to military commanders and did not look at past history. “We didn’t get out of Germany when the war was over in Germany, in fact we’re still there today,” Katko said. “We didn’t get out of Korea when the war with Korea was over.”

Congressman Morelle believes Americans are all troubled by these events, but the most important thing is that every service member gets out of Afghanistan. The same goes for any locals who helped Americans during the two-decade war.  

“The Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan have not been willing to stand up and defend their own country,” Morelle said.

It makes sense to leave and supports President Trump and President Biden’s decision to go, according to Morelle. He believes that leaving however, will not hurt our readiness to respond. 

“I think at any time, anywhere in the world when the United States is called on to defend freedom, that we’re going to be prepared,” Morelle said.

Katko believes a base should be maintained there to keep an eye on things and prevent another 9/11-like event. “We have to accept the fact that we’re not going to have a presence in Afghanistan, and that has profound effects for national security,” Katko said.

More than 4,000 US troops are on the ground in Kabul right now helping with evacuations, with more expected this week. President Biden did issue a deployment of 6,000 US troops to assist with the pullout. All troops are due to leave Afghanistan by August 31. 

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