Golden Statement on Administration’s Planned Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) released the following statement in reaction to the Trump Administration’s planned reduction of troops in Afghanistan:
“The United States went into Afghanistan after the attacks of September 11th to bring justice to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. I joined the Marines to take part in that mission.
“We have killed Osama Bin Laden, and while Al-Qaeda remains a threat, our Armed Forces have demonstrated an ability to continue bringing the fight to terrorists worldwide, including the successful targeting of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Qasem Soleimani. I believe that we can continue effective counterterrorism operations without prolonging our involvement in Afghanistan.
“Since 2001, the U.S. and our allies have attempted to build a self-sufficient Afghan government and military. Nearly twenty years later, the Afghan government remains weak and is unable to defeat the Taliban. We have sought to bring democracy to the Afghan people, yet today their government remains unstable and plagued by corruption. We have tried to eradicate opiate production, but the drug trade remains rampant. With the exception of the targeting of Osama Bin Laden and other terrorist members of his organization, perhaps the only other success we have achieved is the education of millions of young Afghan men and women. That investment may be the best hope for peace and for Afghanistan's future.
“These many setbacks, and too few successes, have come at great cost to our country. More than 2,200 U.S. servicemembers have given their lives in service to our nation and more than 20,000 have been wounded. Thousands of American contractors have also died. Our military families have sacrificed much. Many of our servicemembers, veterans, and their families continue to deal with the enduring, invisible wounds of war. And we have spent approximately $1 trillion of our nation's wealth.
“It is time to bring our Armed Forces home from Afghanistan. We must and will continue to deter and defend against terrorist organizations that aim to attack the United States at home and abroad, but that does not require that we continue indefinite troop deployments for the present mission in Afghanistan.
“I support President Trump's planned drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and I remain committed to protecting our national security. It is my hope that President-elect Biden will support the same.”
Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced it is moving ahead with a significant reduction of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Golden’s statement comes on the heels of a committee hearing this morning on the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.
Congressman Golden served as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002 to 2006.