03.19.21

Reps. Lee and Buck Urge President Biden to Uphold Deadline for Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ken Buck (R-CO) sent a bipartisan letter to the White House urging President Biden to uphold the May 1, 2021 deadline for withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where the United States is engaged in the longest war in our nation’s history.  

The Interim National Security Strategic Guidance the White House released in early March states that “[t]he United States should not, and will not, engage in ‘forever wars’ that have cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars.” In their letter, the lawmakers ask President Biden to uphold this promise.  

“We respectfully write to urge you to uphold the May 1, 2021 deadline for withdrawal of all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan,” the lawmakers wrote. “We support your administration’s pledge to advance a negotiated end to this war, and we believe that meeting the May 1 deadline is vital to this effort. We believe that continued diplomatic engagement with all parties to the Afghanistan conflict, including women and civil society groups, as well as carefully tailored assistance programs, are essential to the success of the peace process. But it is long past time for the United States to end its military role in a complex conflict that predates our initial invasion two decades ago.” 

The lawmakers continued, “The United States has agreed to leave Afghanistan militarily in less than 50 days. We believe that a decision to extend the military mission beyond the withdrawal deadline of May 1 will put U.S. troops at increased and unnecessary risk and fail to advance the goals of peace and justice in Afghanistan.” 

In the past year, there has not been a single U.S. combat death in Afghanistan, largely due to an agreement the Trump Administration signed with the Taliban on February 29, 2020. From 2018 to 2019, 30 Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan and 306 were wounded in action. This trend was on track to continue last year with four combat deaths and 14 service members wounded in action prior to the signing of the agreement. 

United States forces are present in Afghanistan pursuant to an Authorization for the Use of Military Force enacted twenty years ago this year. At the time, Congress did not conceive that this authorization would sanction an endless military commitment. Bringing this war to an end will help restore the founders’ vision of using military force only with the consent of their elected representatives.  

For full text of the letter, click here.