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Colorado leaders react to deadly attack in Afghanistan

APTOPIX Afghanistan
Posted at 9:00 PM, Aug 26, 2021

DENVER — Following the deadly attack on the Kabul airport Thursday, Colorado leaders are calling the day “horrific,” “reprehensible” and “devastating.”

We’re rounding up statements from Colorado’s elected officials and community leaders as they come in:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D)

“The terror attacks in Kabul are reprehensible. I am monitoring this situation closely and our hearts go out to the troops who were killed, those who were wounded, and their loved ones. We must do everything we can to protect our troops, citizens, and allies and continue the evacuation.”

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper (D)

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO01

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-CO02

Rep. Joe Neguse and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) sent a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to establish Temporary Protected Status for "Afghans facing new risks to their lives since the Taliban takeover."

“Our government’s priority right now is confronting the immediate risk to the lives of our Afghan friends and partners,” the lawmakers say in the letter. “We believe part of that solution must include granting the administrative clarity that only TPS can provide—giving State Department and Defense Department officials under fire in Kabul and immigration officials here at home the tools and time they need to process these cases out of harm’s way.”

The letter specifically requests TPS for Afghan parolees who will be paroled into the U.S. and Afghans in the U.S. on student and visitor visas who face acute threats by the Taliban because of their association with the U.S.

Neguse also provided the following statement on Twitter:

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-CO03

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-CO04

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO07

“The loss of 12 U.S. service members in today’s terrorist attack at the Kabul airport is horrific and devastating, and my deepest condolences go out to their family members as well as those injured in today’s attack. The situation at the Kabul airport is volatile and chaotic. The U.S. military continues to warn of imminent terrorist threats as they carry out their mission to safely evacuate as many U.S. citizens and allies as possible. For that reason, it’s important that individuals in the region adhere to the State Department’s security alerts and safety protocols. I am grateful for the men and women on the ground who continue to put themselves in harm’s way as we work to complete this mission.”

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-CO05

“Today is a tragic and horrific day that brought news of the first U.S. combat causalities in Afghanistan since February 2020. My heart breaks for the servicemen. I am praying for their families, and all U.S. personnel and those in harm’s way in Afghanistan. I know I speak for many of my constituents when I say that ‘outraged’ doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction.

“American servicemen who answered the call to protect American citizens and our Afghan allies as they rush to escape Afghanistan were murdered in cold blood by radical Islamic terrorists. This is solely because of Biden’s capitulation to the Taliban’s demands that we fully withdraw by August 31st. Instead of a hasty, artificial withdrawal, Joe Biden should have done everything necessary in order to ensure the safety of American civilians and our troops. There is blood on Biden’s hands. America must take a stand against these heinous attacks and respond with overwhelming force.

“Joe Biden is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief. His pigheaded refusal to extend the artificial and impossible deadline of August 31st defies everyone who has advised him, including those in his own party. This withdrawal has been an absolute failure.”

U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, D-CO06

Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan, held a press conference Thursday afternoon where he said the attack was particularly difficult for veterans who still have friends on the ground. He said a very close friend was manning the gate near where the bomb went off, but he survived.

“Our nation grieves, Colorado grieves and we will be there for the families in the months and years ahead as they work through this.

We have been at war in Afghanistan for 20 years, and we have lost over 2,400 Americans in those 20 years, including during combat tours when I was an Army Ranger, and every one of those casualties occurred during a mission. Every one of those men and women were conducting a mission when they made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation an in furtherance of that mission.

And in every single instance, we never allowed the enemy or terrorists to dictate the terms of that mission, and we continued, we regrouped and we moved forward That’s what we’re gonna do. That’s what we just heard from the president today. We’re never going to allow terrorists to end our mission.

The bottom line is we have a job to do. There are American citizens that are still in Afghanistan that are trying to get out. We have Afghan partners that are in Afghanistan whose lives are in danger who are trying to get out.

I continue to call on the administration to make that commitment to make sure that we're getting folks out who desire to get out."

Colorado Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton

Colorado Rep. David Ortiz, a former Army helicopter pilot who was paralyzed from a crash in Afghanistan, sat down with Denver7 Thursday. He said the events unfolding in Afghanistan are heartbreaking and that it's caused veterans to question whether their sacrifices were worth it.

"It was really disheartening to hear from pundits — talking heads, honestly — people that haven't thought, or given us a thought in the past 20 years of what we've been doing and sacrificing and fighting. Because for 20 years, we have given the American people 20 years of conflict, without needing a draft, without needing rationing and without needing to buy war bonds or anything like that. They virtually have been able to enjoy 20 years of security that we've provided without having to sacrifice really much of anything.

"So, to see them all of a sudden interested in what's going on in Afghanistan. And the sacrifices that me and my brothers and sisters have made has been disheartening. Especially when they went to Monday night quarterback and when they seem to want to rally behind the respective bipartisan tents, or their teams, essentially. Whether they're just defending everything that the president and this administration has done in the withdrawal or attacking everything and using it for political points."