Fox News: Rep. Adam Kinzinger: Biden and Afghanistan – protecting country's stability more important than politics

The Afghan government promotes our shared values of democracy and freedom

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Washington, DC, April 15, 2021 | Maura Gillespie (12022253635) | comments

Unlike Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great, the Soviet Union and the British Empire, the United States finds itself in a unique position that no other nation has found themselves in before when it comes to having a presence in Afghanistan: America is welcome.

Through the stabilizing efforts of the United States military, the NATO mission, and the Afghan government, we have achieved so much. Over 9 million Afghan children are in school today, one-third of whom are young girls who were previously banned from accessing education by the Taliban.

Today, Afghan women are being empowered across society more than ever before, serving in high-level positions from government ministers to CEOs to generals. Preserving women’s rights was tied for the #1 policy priority in a peace deal among Afghans, signaling how important women’s empowerment has become to all of Afghan society.

The Afghan government promotes our shared values of democracy and freedom, and the constitution enshrines gender equality, freedom of expression and the preservation of human dignity.

Most importantly, U.S. training programs have been critical in helping Afghan security forces build up the capacity to protect the people of Afghanistan, the region and the world alike by ensuring that Afghanistan never becomes a haven for terrorism again.

For those of us who have fought in war, we know this progress is the outcome of partners working together to build a better tomorrow for Afghans and promoting the security of freedom-loving people around the world.

U.S. and Afghan goals are completely aligned; we both seek to secure Afghanistan so it cannot be a threat to its people or its allies and ensure a positive future in Afghanistan by protecting the gains made.

The United States’ engagement has evolved to focus on these goals, as was always intended. Far from the 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2010, less than 5,000 U.S. troops remain on the ground.

American forces are now primarily conducting intelligence, counterterrorism, as well as train and assist operations, while Afghan security forces conduct 96% of security operations in Afghanistan. Afghans are bearing the brunt of the fight, while both Afghans and Americans alike share in the benefits.

So when we discuss the possibility of troop withdrawal, we must first start by setting the narrative straight.

While many fatigued Americans characterize U.S. engagement in Afghanistan as a "forever war," the reality is that America’s presence in Afghanistan is no longer the same combat mission that began after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. It has evolved into a mutually beneficial partnership, where each side serves as an insurance policy on security for each other.

For the United States to abandon their position in Afghanistan is dangerous. To give up what American and Afghan troops have fought and died side-by-side for, only for the U.S. to return next year with more troops to fight the same enemy again, would be a grave mistake.

The full op-ed can be found on the Fox News website here.
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