Utah delegation split on whether the U.S. should leave Afghanistan

Aug 16, 2021, 10:57 AM
Taliban fighters take control of Afghan presidential palace after the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)
(AP Photo/Zabi Karimi)

SALT LAKE CITY — The congressional delegation from Utah is split on US Troops leaving Afghanistan. Most of Utah’s six representatives in Washington have shared their feelings about the swift Taliban takeover of Afghanistan as US Troops have been withdrawn.

Currently, nearly all of the Utah delegation has voiced disapproval with the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. Sen. Mitt Romney and Reps. Blake Moore, John Curtis and Burgess Owens, all Republicans, have voiced their disapproval of the withdrawal and voiced their feelings that US Troops should remain in the country.

Rep. Chris Stewart, also a Republican, said the current situation in Afghanistan was “entirely avoidable and is a blatant failure of leadership – both by President Biden and the Pentagon.” However, he added he believes that the policy of removing troops from the country is the right one.

Utah delegation weighs in on Afghanistan

Here are the statements from each member of the Utah congressional delegation on Afghanistan as of Monday morning. 

Note: President Biden is expected to address the nation on the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan at 1:45 pm MDT. KSL NewsRadio will carry his remarks live.

Sen. Mitt Romney

“I understand but disagree with those who felt we should leave Afghanistan; I cannot understand why it has been done with such tragic human cost; without an effective strategy to defend our partners; and with inestimable shock to our nation’s credibility, reliability, and honor.”



Rep. Blake Moore

“I am devastated by the Taliban’s onslaught on the Afghan people. Our major concerns with @POTUS’s hasty withdrawal have come to pass,” Moore wrote on Twitter.

“W/ the lack of a residual coalition force, no strategy, & a withdrawal date that was clearly ceremonial, the Taliban has eroded decades of progress in just 4 months. Terrorist safe havens threaten the security of the Afghan people, our regional partners, & US diplomats & troops.

“The President owed it to our homeland security and trapped Afghan families who aided the U.S. government to establish a responsible exit plan, not a desperate evacuation that has left our diplomats, loyal interpreters, and other allies in mortal danger.”



Rep. Chris Stewart

“These two things are not mutually exclusive, and in fact are both true: First, withdrawing our combat troops from Afghanistan was the right policy. Second, organizing an orderly withdrawal could have been achieved by competent leadership.

“Overwhelming evidence that it’s time to withdraw is found in the fact that after 20 years of sacrificing blood and treasure toward a mission in which we no longer know what success even looks like, we built a government that collapsed in mere days.

“But the ongoing catastrophe in Afghanistan was entirely avoidable and is a blatant failure of leadership – both by President Biden and the Pentagon.

“Allowing weapons, helicopters, ammunition, and classified documents to fall into the hands of the Taliban is inexcusable. Not being able to defend our own embassy is a disgrace. Leaving the Afghans who fought beside us to fend for themselves is incomprehensible.

“As someone who served in the armed forces for fourteen years, watching our military leaders express more concern about the ‘existential threats’ of white rage and climate change than the combat mission they were responsible for feels nothing but tragic.

“Competent military leadership could have withdrawn our forces in an orderly fashion, creating benchmarks and priorities that would have prevented the current situation. Neither the President nor the Pentagon did any of that.

“As someone who served in the armed forces for fourteen years, watching our military leaders express more concern about the ‘existential threats’ of white rage and climate change than the combat mission they were responsible for feels nothing but tragic.

“It pains me to see a mistake of this magnitude, but I could not in good conscious witness this level of failure without demanding accountability. Both Sec Def Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Milley should acknowledge their failure and resign.”


Rep. John Curtis

“Several months ago, I met with leaders in the Afghanistan Parliament about the crucial role the US has played to bring stability to the country and region through a targeted military presence. I heard firsthand their appreciation for the US military and how it has helped bring freedom and security to a historically restricted country. 

“Biden’s disastrous moves in Afghanistan have not only severe consequences for Afghanis but weaken America’s credibility as we move into an era of great power competition. It is difficult to see any result other than further instability in the region. This will only lead to greater human rights abuses and—as the Military Joint Chiefs have already stated—an increase in terrorist activity. 

“I am eager to hear any updates from the Afghanistan Parliament and urge President Biden not to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate governing state. Today I pray for the Afghan people, specifically the women and girls, and am gratefully mindful of the American soldiers who have sacrificed to keep us safe.”


Rep. Burgess Owens

“This is infuriating.. @POTUS has brought absolute chaos to everything his administration touches. Meanwhile he vacations,” Owens tweeted. 



Sen. Mike Lee

Senator Lee has not released a statement at the time of writing; however, he previously supported withdrawing troops and criticized the lack of planning and strategy in the war in Afghanistan.


Contributing: Heather Kelly, KSL NewsRadio

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Utah delegation split on whether the U.S. should leave Afghanistan