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GOP lawmaker Adam Kinzinger explains mixed feelings about leaving Afghanistan under Taliban control

“On the one hand, it’s a great relief that we took out these thousands of servicemen without any further incident other than, you know, the only tragic bombing, because it’s really hard to do,” Kinzinger told Jake. Tapper from CNN on “The Lead”. “On the other hand, it’s kind of like a mixture of sadness, because I got this feeling, you know, of a number of Americans, of a number of allies that we left behind. for account. “

“I know that the good front of the Taliban that they have put in place will soon disappear. So it is a mixed feeling,” he added. “I hope I’m wrong, and I hope, you know, maybe we have this magical relationship and the Taliban decide they want to liberalize and give women rights and not retaliate against women. people who fought against them. I really hope so, but unfortunately I don’t foresee that to happen. ”

The comments by Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, came just after US officials announced that the last US military planes had left Afghanistan, ending a costly 20-year conflict in which nearly 2,000 American soldiers were killed in action.
Lawmakers on both sides offered mixed reactions on Monday to the exit, which involved the evacuation of more than 122,000 people since July and became fatal last week when a terrorist attack in Kabul killed 13 U.S. servicemen and at least Another 170 while the United States was working on airlifting locals.

House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith expressed little confidence after the pullout, saying on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” that “no one should have confidence in the situation and the chaotic situation we have in Afghanistan.”

“You can’t trust the Taliban. I mean even the Taliban can’t control the Taliban, and they certainly can’t control ISIS-K, as we learned a few days ago,” said Smith, a Democrat from Washington state, referring to the terrorist organization that claimed responsibility for the attack on US servicemen outside Kabul airport.
Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat from Minnesota, appeared to fend off some of the more critical reactions on Monday in a brief response to the official release on Twitter, writing: “In fact, ending wars is good.”

Democratic Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania said she congratulated President Joe Biden “and our military leaders for taking the difficult and courageous step of finally bringing our troops home and overseeing an unprecedented effort to transport by air more than 116,000 people in just two weeks “.

Wild, however, also stressed in her statement that she wanted answers “on the timing and how the evacuation process was carried out.”

Meanwhile, Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” that he wanted the US military “to know what they made it worth it. They arrested 9/11. ” terrorist attack style for 20 years, and it was worth it. ”

But the Texas congressman argued that “our allies consider us a little weaker” after the withdrawal, and “our adversaries certainly see us as a weaker force in the region.”

“I know we’re all saying it’s the end of the war and they are stepping back. We are stepping back. I don’t think it’s the end of the war,” he said, suggesting that the United States would be threatened again. terrorist groups in the region.

Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday pledged Republicans “would use every legislative opportunity to make this case” over Afghanistan, although Democrats controlling the chamber, his options are limited unless they are can garner enough Democratic support.

Speaking at a GOP roundtable in Washington, the California congressman announced his party will seek unanimous consent on a bill from Wisconsin GOP Representative Mike Gallagher on Tuesday, although the proposal will certainly be blocked. by Democrats in the pro forma session. .

The legislation would require a report on the number of Americans still in Afghanistan, a report by the Inspector General on any dealings with the Taliban and a status report on any military equipment and classified material left behind, and would prohibit any US funding to the Taliban.

A senior State Department official said the department believed there were currently fewer than 250 U.S. citizens in Afghanistan who might wish to leave, as U.S. officials stressed the Taliban’s commitment to let Afghans leave the country. countries after the withdrawal of the United States and its allies.

CNN’s Nicole Gaouette, Jennifer Hansler, Barbara Starr, Oren Liebermann, Melanie Zanona and Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.