U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, a decorated Army Ranger from Aurora, said Friday that he wants the Biden administration to delay the planned Aug. 31 military withdrawal from Afghanistan until the country finishes evacuating Americans and gets as many of its Afghan allies to safety as possible.
Crow, a member of the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, told CNN that the U.S. cannot let Thursday's deadly suicide bombing at Kabul's airport deter the country from doing what it takes to accomplish what the Democrat has been describing this week as its new mission.
"I’m suggesting that we not withdraw our military forces by Tuesday," Crow said in an appearance on the cable news channel's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
"I've said that all along to the administration, when we withdraw our military forces and our boots on the ground, our abilities, the options we have available, drastically shrink, and our ability to safely and successfully get American citizens and Afghan partners out of the country becomes extremely diminished. What I’m saying is that we should not constrain ourselves like that. We’ve got an obligation to get people out, and we should not be forced to reduce our capabilities significantly on Tuesday just because of the calendar deadline."
"This is a terrible tragedy, and I am mourning, with all of America, the loss of these 13 service members, and I extend my sympathies to their families," Crow said. "Afghanistan is a dangerous place. It’s been a dangerous place for 20 years now, we lost 2,400 young men and women there over the last two decades, and that’s one of the reasons I agree with the administration and the president that it was time to bring our troops home.
"But this isn’t the first time we’ve had an ISIS attack, and it won’t be the last. This is a dangerous situation, but the mission must continue. Every time we’ve lost a soldier over the last 20 years — those over 2,000 young men and women — they were always on a mission, but they never stop that mission, because we don’t allow terrorists, we don’t allow our adversaries and enemies to tell us when to stop our mission."
"We continue the mission to get it done, and that is not without risk," he said. "We’ve been saying all along: Afghanistan is an extremely risky place. We have to make sure that we are doing everything possible with the troops and resources in place to protect them, to protect that airport, to extend the perimeter, to put in air cover and to have the intelligence capability to detect these attacks in advance."
In a Thursday interview on MSNBC, Crow said he doesn't have the most up-to-date information about the situation on the ground, so he wouldn't make a recommendation about sending in more troops but added that he has said all along that the U.S. shouldn't be hesitant to provide the resources needed to finish the evacuation.
"If it requires us to send more troops in, that’s what we need to do, because the mission is not done, and it won’t be done until we bring our people home," he said.