Sen. Murphy: We Probably Should Have Started Evacuation Earlier

Sen. Murphy: We Probably Should Have Started Evacuation Earlier


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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A key Democratic senator who has been one of the most stalwart defenders of President Biden’s handling of the events in Afghanistan is willing to acknowledge that the one thing that the US government could have done differently is perhaps begin the evacuations of US and Afghan citizens sooner.

However, there was a belief that the Afghan government’s military forces would begin to fight back against the Taliban, according to Sen Chris Murphy (D-Conn), who serves as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and counterterrorism subcommittee.

President Biden has been taking a drubbing from political pundits and Republicans alike over his policies related to Afghanistan, where his administration has overseen the evacuation of some 120,000 US and Afghan citizens to safety.

“And the [Afghan] military and the government were telling us that, ‘If you start the mass evacuation of the embassy, of Afghans, it is going to sap the will from our soldiers to stand up and defend the country.’ It was logical to believe that a mass evacuation too early would have actually led to the result that we were trying to avoid, which was the collapse of the government. Second, even if we had begun that evacuation earlier, there still would have been, frankly, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Afghans that, upon the collapse, the unexpected overnight collapse of the government, would have rushed the airport,” Murphy said. “There still would have been the scenes that we’re seeing today with all of the incumbent security threats that are attached to it. So, in retrospect, obviously, the government and the security forces of Afghanistan did collapse. And so we probably should have started that evacuation earlier.

“But we were laboring under the belief that they wouldn’t. And we were trying not to take steps that would lead to that overnight collapse. So, I think that is the difficulty with just suggesting that we should have begun all this earlier,” he added.

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