Colorado’s congressional delegation in agreement on ending the war in Afghanistan

Coloradans in Congress from both political parties applauded President Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan by mid-September and end America’s longest war.

“We cannot continue to spend billions of dollars there and send our men and women there in perpetuity,” said Rep. Jason Crow, an Aurora Democrat who served in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger in 2004 and 2005.

About 2,300 Americans have died in the war, according to Defense Department estimates, including 38 Coloradans. The first was Sgt. Daniel Romero, a 30-year-old from Lafayette, in a rocket explosion near Kandahar in 2002. The most recent was Sgt. Will Lindsay, a 33-year-old from Cortez, during a firefight in Kunduz Province in 2019.

Crow said he is concerned that the Biden administration’s plans to withdraw the remaining 2,500 troops by Sept. 11 – as first reported by The Associated Press – is not contingent on the Taliban complying with a power-sharing agreement with the Afghan government.

“I’m worried about a situation where there’s a very rapid fall of the Afghan government and all of the things we sacrificed for and all the progresses we have made get wiped away,” Crow said.

Rep. Ken Buck, a Windsor Republican, has become an outspoken critic of the war. In an unlikely partnership, Buck teamed with California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee in March to tell Biden that troops should leave Afghanistan by May 1.

“Despite it being months later than the May 1 request made by (Lee) and myself, this is the right move,” Buck said on social media Tuesday. “We need to bring our troops home.”

The Biden administration expects to begin its drawdown May 1 and complete it by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks that spurred the U.S. to invade Afghanistan.

“I have long-supported a responsible drawdown of troops in Afghanistan which provides for the security of our troops and protects the gains we made in the region,” said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, an Arvada Democrat. “The future of Afghanistan lies in the hands of the Afghan people.”

Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse, of Lafayette said he “strongly supports” a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“We’ve been in a state of continuous armed conflict for nearly 20 years,” he said, “and we cannot allow this endless war to be passed onto future generations.”

When asked whether the U.S. lost the war in Afghanistan, Crow said he’s unsure. The goal was to prevent another Sept. 11-style terror attack and there hasn’t been one, the congressman noted, adding: “Whether or not that’s a result of our involvement, I think nobody will ever know.”

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