Rep. Ann Wagner: Biden's incomplete Afghanistan plan hurts interpreters and allies – it's a disgrace

These brave Afghans were willing to sacrifice everything including their own lives

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We were all shocked when President Biden closed the Bagram Airfield in the middle of the night and began taking steps to end all U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.  

No one celebrated more than the Taliban

President Biden made a feeble attempt with the assistance of "cue cards" to convince the media and the American people this was the right decision, leaving us all with more questions than answers and sending a clear signal to the Taliban it now had an unprecedented opportunity to take over Afghanistan.

The decision to completely leave Afghanistan to the Taliban on a clear deadline of August 31, 2021, is a decision that makes the world a more dangerous place because it leaves us with no intelligence operation in Afghanistan from which to eliminate terrorists in the region. It is an issue of national and global security but it is also deeply personal.

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My eldest son chose to attend West Point because of the attacks our nation, suffered at the hands of a terrorist plot hatched in the mountains of Afghanistan on September 11, 2001. He served as a combat infantry officer in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

We all want our brave men and women in uniform to come home.

As a mother who worried about her son and all our soldiers who served during wartime, I truly understand that sentiment.  We also never want to have to send them back.

We need to ensure the Taliban knows that we will never allow them to threaten Americans again, but Biden has not articulated a plan that ensures our safety. 

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Biden’s policies have taken us back in time to the days of the Obama administration when too often our enemies did not fear us and our allies did not trust us; the days of leading from behind.  

The Biden administration cannot even offer details regarding how it will protect the Afghan translators and allies who aided our efforts. It’s disgraceful.

There should be no doubt: if you seek to harm the United States of America and the American people, there will be consequences. 

Likewise, if you seek to advance American interests, we will support you. 

The opposite is true with Biden and his administration. Look at how they have ignored providing assistance and protection to the Afghan interpreters who worked with our troops, sought to support democracy and protect American interests.

My son and his unit worked day in and day out with their Afghan counterparts -- often embedded within the Afghan National Army ranks in an "advise and assist" role during combat and logistical operations. They relied on those Afghan interpreters for communications both on and off the battlefield.  

The Afghan interpreters' role was vast and vital -- from translating intercepted Taliban radio traffic during a combat mission or breaking down language and cultural barriers during key leader engagements. Often their lives depended on them.

These Afghan interpreters became part of my son's military family. They didn't just fight together, they ate meals together, exchanged stories of families, played sports together and more. 

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The interpreters my son and his unit worked with had the same fundamental belief we all share -- that all men and women should be free of tyranny and be able to freely live their lives.

The Biden administration cannot even offer details regarding how it will protect the Afghan translators and allies who aided our efforts. It’s disgraceful.

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These brave Afghans were willing to sacrifice everything, including their own lives, and the president of the United States has stood idly by while the Taliban threatens their families’ safety. He is without a definitive plan to get them out of Afghanistan, leaving them in the hands of the Taliban who will surely kill them.

Do you know what’s even more disgraceful than Biden’s lack of commitment to these translators? The Biden administration claims that they are not able to process these translators quickly because of our immigration laws, though the administration can process over 700,000 illegal immigrants who have come across our southern border since the beginning of this year.

The Biden administration prioritizes those who do not respect the rule of law over those who were willing to risk everything to advance American interests and fight for democracy. That is an affront to all those who risked their lives for a free and secure Afghanistan.

Any plan to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan is incomplete without a detailed plan for how we should evacuate the translators and other allies who advance American interests and the safety of the Afghan people.

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It’s that simple. 

The Biden administration is once again showing the American people -- and the world -- where its priorities lie, and it’s not with the people who put America First.

Rep. Ann Wagner’s son Raymond served in Afghanistan in 2013 during Operation Enduring Freedom. 

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