U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says she remains critical of the White House’s handling of the situation that has unfolded in Afghanistan, adding that the state of Iowa is preparing to welcome Afghan refugees.
U.S. President Joe Biden said he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan and acknowledged that the Afghan government’s collapse was quicker than anticipated. Addressing the nation from the White House, Biden said he faced a choice between honoring a withdrawal agreement or sending thousands more troops back to begin a third decade of war.
Ernst told KMCH on Thursday that it hits her especially hard as a veteran of the War on Terror.
On Thursday, the Taliban violently dispersed scattered protests for a second day amid warnings that Afghanistan’s already weakened economy could crumble further without the massive international aid that sustained the toppled Western-backed government.
The Taliban have pledged to forgive those who fought them and to restore security and normal life to the country after decades of war. But many Afghans fear a return to the Taliban’s harsh rule in the late 1990s, when the group largely confined women to their homes, banned television and music, chopped off the hands of suspected thieves and held public executions.
Ernst said Afghan refugees are medically screened once they arrive on U.S. soil and many are relocating to California, Virginia and Wisconsin where there are large populations of former Afghan residents. Reynolds said Iowa is “on board and ready to go” once the State Department starts coordinating flights of Afghans into the state.
story contributions courtesy of AP and Radio Iowa