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afghanistan

Cheney: Biden Handed Afghanistan Over To Taliban, ISIS

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw United States forces from Afghanistan after 20 years was ultimately the move that handed the country over to terrorist organizations, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said Tuesday.

“If President Biden were serious about defending America from the threat of terror, he wouldn’t have surrendered to the terrorists and handed the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS an entire country from which they can plot and plan terror attacks against America,” she said on Twitter.

“You don’t end wars by surrendering,” she said. “You don’t secure America by leaving Americans behind enemy lines, betraying our allies, and empowering our enemies. This isn’t ending a war. It’s losing one.”

Addressing the nation on Tuesday, Biden said withdrawal from the country was the best available option and that it would have been just as messy if launched weeks earlier, according to the news agency Reuters. Earlier this month, the Taliban terrorist organization took control of the Afghan government.

Multiple people have been killed in the chaos in the country since the Taliban took control, including Wyoming Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum, who was set to become a father in just a few weeks.

The war in Afghanistan saw more than 2,500 Americans and more than 240,000 Afghans killed in its two-decade duration. Many Afghans are fleeing to the United States, but Gov. Mark Gordon has stated he has no interest in accepting refugees into Wyoming.

Two Wyoming representatives publicly disagreed with the governor over the weekend, saying that Wyoming should have some type of refugee program to accept those displaced.

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Wyo Congressional Delegation, Governor Condemn Attacks in Afghanistan

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s congressional delegation and Gov. Mark Gordon released individual statements on Thursday following word that U.S. troops had been killed in Afghanistan after an Islamist State terrorist attack at the Kabul airport.

None took aim at the administration of President Joe Biden yet, although Cheney was able to weave-in a subtle reminder of her longstanding position that the U.S. has a role in the area.

“I am praying for our U.S. service-members and their families. Today’s horrific attack is a devastating reminder that the threat from terrorists in Afghanistan remains an ongoing concern for America and the world,” Cheney said. 

Cheney, during appearances on numerous national media shows in the last week, has been sharply critical of the Biden administration for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, she told FOX News host Neil Cavuto that President Biden has put the U.S. in a “catastrophic situation” and put Americans at risk.

“This decision that President Biden has made to withdraw from Afghanistan and the way it has been implemented has really increased the threat to the United States and has put us at risk in ways that are hard to calculate right now,” Cheney said.

On the home front, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, who said last week he had “no interest” in allowing Afghan refugees in the state of Wyoming, said he was praying for the victims of the attacks.

“Jennie and I grieve for the U.S. service members and innocent Afghan civilians killed today, and pray for the safe return of those still waiting to return home,” Gov. Gordon said.

“Our thoughts and prayers ​are with their families and loved ones. We must ensure their sacrifice is not in vain,” he said.

Meanwhile, both U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis took to Twitter to offer condolences.

“Very troubling news coming out of Afghanistan. Keep our American troops, citizens, and Afghan allies in your prayers as we learn more,” Barrasso said.

“I’m praying for the families of those brave service members who sacrificed their lives today in Kabul. This is absolutely tragic. I’m praying for the safety of those still working to get Americans and our Afghan partners out of the reach of the Taliban,” Lummis tweeted.

The U.S. deaths, which were the first in Afghanistan in 19 months, occurred in a location where Americans were looking for evacuees.

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Gordon ‘Not Interested’ In Accepting Afghan Refugees Into Wyoming

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By Ellen Fike

Gov. Mark Gordon “has no interest” in accepting Afghan refugees into Wyoming, his spokesman told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Gordon is not volunteering Wyoming as a safe haven for refugees fleeing Afghanistan after the Taliban overthrew the government last weekend.

“Our office has not been contacted by any federal or international officials about bringing in Afghan refugees and the governor has no interest in accepting refugees,” spokesman Michael Pearlman said. ” Please note that Wyoming currently does not have a state-administered refugee resettlement program.”

Other Western governors including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis have written President Joe Biden to let him know they are willing to help refugees in any way.

“I’m deeply saddened by the human tragedy currently unfolding in Afghanistan,” Cox wrote. “I recognize Utah plays no direct role in shaping U.S. diplomatic or military policy, but we have a long history of welcoming refugees from around the world and helping them restart their lives in a new country,” Cox wrote in his letter.

Polis said Colorado stood ready to provide safety and opportunity to Afghan refugees.

“Our veteran community knows the value of the role these Afghans played overseas, and our greater Colorado community shares with you American values of humanitarianism and compassion,” Polis said. “Colorado stands ready. Please advise on how Colorado can assist.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said that she is open to to the idea of accepting refugees who can be vetted, particularly those who served alongside the United States military over the duration of the 20-year war. However, she added she does not have much faith in the Biden administration to accurately review the backgrounds of refugees.

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Congressional Candidate Knapp Says Poor Preparation Led To Fall Of Afghanistan; Other Candidates Blame Cheney, Biden

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban is largely a failure to prepare for the orderly departure of American forces from the country, according to one of the candidates for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat.

Denton Knapp, a retired U.S. Army colonel who served for one year in Afghanistan, said a managed departure of American forces from the country could have prevented the situation seen now, with Taliban forces taking over the country and tens of thousands seeking to escape.

“There’s a way to leave our friends,” he said. “We are still in Japan, we are still in Germany, we are still in South Korea and South Korea is flourishing. We evacuated Vietnam very quickly. Unfortunately, we are seeing the same thing with Afghanistan.“

We usually leave security and training forces that assist to make sure things are running smoothly,” he continued. “This is crazy.”

Knapp’s comments came as videos showed panicked Afghan citizens and foreigners scrambling to flee the country in the face of the Taliban takeover. He was one of several candidates for Wyoming’s U.S House seat to offer an opinion on the developments.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, blamed the situation on former President Donald Trump’s agreement with Taliban forces setting a withdrawal date for American troops and on President Joe Biden for proceeding with the action.

Cheney and Knapp offered similar opinions that the United States should have planned to leave sufficient American forces in place to protect American security interests.

Knapp, who was part of NATO’s effort to train Afghanistan’s army and police force, said a more orderly downsizing had already begun when he served in the country in 2012-2013.Knapp, who said he has several friends now in hiding in Afghanistan, added that the Afghans had already begun assuming much responsibility for the country’s security when he was there.

“The Afghans were in charge, they were running the meetings, they were assisting with intelligence,” he said. “We were truly refining their force.”

However, even after 20 years, the Afghan people were not completely ready to take over their country’s defense, Knapp added.

“It’s a different culture,” he said. “They’re still in their infancy. Twenty years is a long time for the United States Army, but in other countries, it’s not so long.”

Marissa Selvig of Riverton, one of the other candidates running for office, said she believes the problem stems from America’s long-term involvement with Afghanistan.

“We should have been out of Afghanistan a decade ago, long before Trump was in the picture,” she said in an email to Cowboy State Daily. “Being in a perpetual state of war in the Middle East is not good for our nation, not to mention spending the precious blood of our countrymen and too much money; and now leaving the Taliban well armed is a tragedy.”

While Cheney blamed Trump and Biden, state Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper, blamed Cheney in part for the situation.

Gray said Trump had created a sound plan for America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan that would have worked, only to have it thwarted by Biden’s election.

“The Taliban would not have double crossed President Trump, because they understood he would not allow it,” Gray wrote on his Facebook page. “But Biden is so weak. What happened in Afghanistan is another result of Cheney voting to impeach President Trump to strengthen Biden and Pelosi.”

Robyn Belinskey, a Sheridan businesswoman, agreed with Gray that the fault lies with Biden.

“Cheney’s playing the fence,” she said in an email. “This is on Biden. The world sees America as weak. I can’t be blaming Trump for their incompetence.”

In a video posted on his Facebook page late Tuesday, Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith criticized the media for its lack of coverage of Afghanistan and said it was Cheney’s foreign policy that was responsible.

“You created this mess and you took no ownership for it,” Smith said. “Shame on you for not being America first.”

“I have two words for you: you are fired,” he said.

Other candidates for Congress, including state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, could not be reached for comment.

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