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Ohio lawmakers react to Taliban taking control

Wheeling Intelligencer / Martins Ferry Times Leader
By Shelley Hanson
Published August 17, 2021

Ohio’s legislative leaders reacted Monday to the news of Afghanistan falling to the Taliban in recent days.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, on Sunday blamed President Joe Biden for what is occurring there.The government has collapsed, and the Taliban seized control.

“More than 26 years in the Air Force taught me that leadership requires a full understanding of the threat and how circumstances may change based on perceived or anticipated military action. President Biden has completely failed this crucial leadership test and he needs to apologize and acknowledge his grave misstep,” Johnson said. 

“I ask everyone to join me in praying for the American troops in harm’s way in Afghanistan and the innocent people — particularly women and girls — who now lay in the destructive path of the evil Taliban.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Monday he is concerned about Americans in Afghanistan and the country’s allies there.

“I am extremely concerned about the safety and security of Americans on the ground, as well as Afghans who helped our country over the past two decades. We must do everything in our power to evacuate them to safety and provide refuge from the unfolding humanitarian crisis,” Brown said.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on Sunday also blamed Biden and his action to have troops withdraw from the country.

“In 2001, after Al Qaeda launched a series of unprecedented deadly attacks on the United States, our armed forces entered Afghanistan to fight Al Qaeda terrorists who were being harbored by the Taliban. Over the past 20 years, both Republican and Democrat administrations realized the value of a stable Afghanistan and committed to support the goal of the Afghan people to live free of oppression and tyranny, as well as protect the homeland and our allies from the threat of international terrorism,” Portman said.

“As I have made clear on numerous occasions, I did not agree with President Biden’s decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan because I believe that any withdrawal should have been based on the conditions on the ground, not on an artificial timeline.

“It is wrong for the Biden administration to suggest that the events we are witnessing today are an inevitable outcome. It is obvious there was no systematic plan for withdrawal. We provided 2,500 troops to serve in a train and assist mission, and when paired with forces from our NATO allies, provided a stabilizing force to the Afghan National Army.”

Portman said the Biden administration should do everything it can to evacuate American citizens and allies.

“We are now closing the U.S. Embassy and deploying combat troops to secure the airport and evacuate our embassy and allied personnel, as well as those brave Afghans who served with us and possess Special Immigrant Visas. I encourage the administration to do everything possible to support this evacuation mission and ensure the safety of our allies and their families.

“The fall of Afghanistan was preventable and will have lasting implications. Looking forward, the United States must re-engage with our allies and partners in the region to prepare for a coming refugee crisis as well as a renewed threat of international terrorism brought on by Al Qaeda and its affiliates. Afghanistan is now more likely to serve as a global launchpad for terrorism. I urge the president to be proactive in formulating a strategy for the fallout of this disastrous policy.”