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Senator Ron Johnson says Afghanistan withdrawal ‘an unmitigated disaster’

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 10:57 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The mission to end “America’s longest war” is leading to an aftermath of extended criticism.

“It was an unmitigated disaster,” said Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Johnson isn’t mincing words when it comes to his opinion on the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and the domino effect it had on the collapse of the country’s government.

“I always felt that we should at a minimum left a residual force of special operations personnel security forces to keep the Taliban at bay,” said Johnson.

Tens of Thousands of Afghan refugees fled the Taliban rule during the withdrawal with nearly 13,000 now being housed at Fort McCoy in Monroe County, Wisconsin.

The base opened its doors for the media to get a first-hand look at the quarters where refugees are staying.

Johnson says he’s visited the base, and accommodating such a large group of people is challenging especially with a language barrier, but he believes things are efficiently being handled.

“It’s not easy to have all of a sudden 13,000 people you have to take care of, supply, feed, clothe,” he said.

Johnson’s words come as top military officials for the first time publicly testified on Capitol Hill about the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley questioned Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

During the hearing Hawley asked, “did you warn of drawing down so quickly before a civilian evacuation was underway?”

Milley responded, “yeah, but it’s more complicated than that. There were concerns that we raised throughout the inner agencies that when those advisers if the advisers were to stay there was a possibility the Afghan forces would hang in there.”

In addition to Wisconsin, refugees are temporarily being housed at three other military bases in Virginia, Texas, and New Jersey.

Since August, Gray DC’s Washington News Bureau has reached out to The White House several times to see what the need is for Afghan interpreters at Fort McCoy and other bases.

We’re still waiting to hear back.

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