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Murphy: Staying In Afghanistan Beyond August Could 'Start The War Again'

Murphy Afghanistan 210824
Frankie Graziano
/
Connecticut Public
Two U.S. senators from Connecticut agree that U.S. troops must stay in Afghanistan until Americans, allies, and Afghans at risk are safely removed. But one of them, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) outlined on Tuesday from the Capitol steps in Hartford the risk associated with staying.

While President Joe Biden continues to commit to an August 31 deadline for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, two U.S. senators from Connecticut are saying Biden should extend that deadline if it means saving lives.

The drawdown of troops in Afghanistan has coincided with a refugee crisis. The senators estimate that some 10,000 people are evacuating the country each day.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wants U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan until all Americans, allies, and Afghans at risk are removed safely.

“The Taliban cannot be permitted to determine or dictate what our timetable is for rescuing American citizens,” Blumenthal said in front of the Connecticut State Capitol building Tuesday.

“We protect our citizens and we don’t leave behind the men and women who have put their lives on the line to help our troops and diplomats there.”

While Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) does agree that the U.S. shouldn’t recognize any “arbitrary” deadlines from the Taliban regarding the August 31 withdrawal, he does caution that keeping troops in Afghanistan for too long would likely mean war.

“When you hear the president wrestling with the question of whether to stay after the 31st [of August], it’s because there is no circumstance in which we can rescue every American and every Afghan partner if the job isn’t done by the 31st without starting the war again,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he and Blumenthal are in touch with dozens and dozens of people from Connecticut reportedly stuck in Afghanistan.

The head of a New Haven non-profit that is currently resettling Afghan refugees also spoke Tuesday. He described what life is like right now in Afghanistan for enemies of the Taliban amid a massive evacuation effort.

Chris George, the executive director of Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS), said the Taliban is targeting any one it suspects has helped Americans during their 20-year occupation of Afghanistan.

“I can’t tell you the anguish and the fear and also the guilt that Afghans living in Connecticut have in regard to their relatives who are left behind.”

George – and the two senators – are urging the state to welcome more refugees from Afghanistan.

George also said there’s probably about 200 people from Connecticut stuck there right now.