California Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 resolution that launched America’s longest war, said the Taliban’s swift takeover is proof that “that there is no military solution, unfortunately, in Afghanistan.”
“We’ve been there 20 years; we’ve spent over a trillion dollars and we’ve trained over 300,000 of the Afghan forces,” Lee, a Democrat, said on MSNBC Sunday night.
Days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Lee cast the lone “no” vote on a broad resolution to authorize military force against those responsible for 9/11. Nearly 20 years later, she defended President Biden’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and urged the administration to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable Afghans, including those who’ve assisted the U.S. military.
“I think it’s a very dire situation,” said Lee. “Our focus and priority has got to be the safety and security of American citizens, our diplomats, the Afghans, our allies, so many people who supported the American operation there.”
Over the weekend, Biden defended his handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan amid growing criticism, as the planned departure of American troops appears to have kicked off the quick collapse of the country’s Western-backed government. On Sunday, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul was evacuated and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country as Taliban fighters seized control of the capital city.
Photos and videos circulating on social media Monday showed chaos unfolding at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport, where at least seven people have reportedly died as thousands rushed the tarmac, some even hanging from departing U.S. Air Force planes, in a desperate attempt to flee the country.
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