August 17, 2021
Press Release

CARMEL VALLEY, CA – Today, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley) issued the following statement regarding the withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from Afghanistan. Rep. Panetta is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and served in Afghanistan from 2007 to 2008 as an intelligence officer assigned to a special operations task force.

“Despite the popular decision to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, the failure by practically everybody to predict the swift fall of the Afghan military and government has led to the catastrophic situation that is the current state of Afghanistan.  At this point, the priority of the United States must be the rapid removal of any and all U.S. personnel and Afghan partners. Many Afghans risked their lives to work with us based on our resources, their reliance on our word, and our record as a defender of human rights.”

“Since “the buck stops” with the President, the Administration must do everything possible to safely secure the airport in Kabul to exfiltrate all U.S. and partner personnel.  Moreover, we must work with our regional partners to try to influence the Taliban so that the work done by so many over the past two decades in Afghanistan to enhance and bolster human and women’s rights was not in vain.  As an Afghanistan War Veteran who served in country from 2007-2008, the current situation on the ground is sickening.  However, I will always be proud of my past service, and of that of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who served and sacrificed in Operation Enduring Freedom.”

“We fulfilled our mission to address and eliminate the threat of terrorism against our nation emanating from Afghanistan and brought Osama bin Laden to justice.  Moreover, humanitarian, technological, and socially diverse seeds of change were planted that we now can hope take hold.  For the sake of those who served and their families, for the people of Afghanistan, and for the reputation and security of America, we have a moral obligation to work with regional partners to promote Afghanistan's adherence to international laws and human rights, and we must take every step necessary to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe-haven for the planning and execution of terror against the United States.”