'It's heartbreaking': Krishnamoorthi, Underwood fearing safety of Afghans who helped U.S.
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg and other Illinois lawmakers on Monday demanded the American government protect its allies in Afghanistan as the government there crumbles and people panic.
"Our foremost priority must now be to evacuate every American in the country and to safeguard all our Afghan partners who have helped us," Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat serving Illinois' 8th District, tweeted.
Krishnamoorthi called the fall of the government after nearly two decades of work by Americans and Afghans "heartbreaking."
U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, a Naperville Democrat, touted her vote to expand and expedite a special visa program to assist the evacuation of Afghans who worked with America over the past two decades.
"We know that there are many individuals who are seeking access to those visas ... to get out of the country," she said Monday. "We need to expedite that program to save our Afghan partners."
In a statement to the media, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin criticized the Afghan government for not being willing "to fight for its own future."
Durbin credited President Joe Biden for not passing the longest war in U.S. history to another president.
"And had he walked away from the withdraw agreement originally negotiated by President (Donald) Trump, Taliban attacks on U.S. forces would have restarted and required yet another surge in U.S. troops," said Durbin, a Springfield Democrat.
"This endless cost in American lives and taxpayer dollars was not sustainable," he said.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat whose 5th District includes parts of Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace and other suburbs, said he was "deeply saddened" by the situation. "After two decades of deployments of young Americans to strengthen the local government and train a national military force, it is incredibly frustrating to watch the Taliban's rapid advance," Quigley said.
The U.S. went to war in Afghanistan to eliminate terrorist Osama bin Laden and the extremists who harbored him, Quigley said. But, he added, the U.S. wasn't prepared for what came next: the realities of nation building, a protracted military engagement and "two decades worth of officials concealing the realities on the ground and telling half-truths to the American public."
"Both parties, four presidents and hundreds of elected officials and military leaders are responsible for this failure," Quigley said.