Fairfield, Conn. — For Jayme Stevenson, candidate for Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, this is a reflective period on the turbulent withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan one year ago today.
On August 26, 2021, as Americans continued to watch the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in disbelief, we learned of the suicide bombing outside Kabul airport that killed 13 American service members and at least 170 Afghan civilians. Thousands of Afghans and Americans had been gathered at the airport for days anxiously trying to flee.
“This is a profoundly sad day in American history. Too many lives were lost — military personnel, American citizens, allies, and Afghans — and too many were left behind,” stated Stevenson. “President Biden called it an ‘extraordinary success,’ while our military and their families were mourning loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, and while we still have 160,000 American and Afghan allies there.
“We will be forever grateful to our military service men and women who selflessly executed this mission when President Biden, on August 14th, surrendered to the Taliban’s August 31st withdrawal demand. With just weeks to plan and meet the deadline, our brave troops were able to safely evacuate more than 122,000 civilians.
“Where government leaders failed, the private sector stepped in to undertake extraordinary rescue efforts for those left behind, and still there are many who remain in Afghanistan and who are at great risk. In addition, the United States abandoned $7.12B in military equipment, arms and communications hardware now in the hands of the very terrorists that we worked for twenty years to eliminate.
“One year later, we are still seeing the repercussions of the chaotic Afghan withdrawal which undoubtedly empowered Putin’s aggression in the Ukraine. Now Americans are watching as Ukrainians fight for their lives and freedoms.”
Today, Stevenson remembers the thirteen service members who gave their lives for our country and freedom for the Afghan people:
Marine Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover
Marine Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
Marine Sgt. Nicole Gee
Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez
Marine Cpl. Daegan W. Page
Marine Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez
Marine Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza
Marine Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz
Marine Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum
Marine Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola
Marine Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui
Navy corpsman Maxton W. Soviak
Army Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss