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Where California lawmakers stand on the Afghanistan withdrawal

A slideshow of photos of California lawmakers Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Dianne Feinstein and Devin Nunes
Californians in the U.S. House and Senate, including Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy, Dianne Feinstein and Devin Nunes, have weighed in on President Biden’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan.
(Kent Nishimura, Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times; Associated Press)
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As the Taliban takes over Afghanistan with little resistance, California lawmakers, like many Americans, have watched, stunned at the rapid fall of a government the U.S. spent 20 years trying to stabilize.

Those in Congress’ largest delegation, with 53 House members and two senators, are split in their views of the United States’ rocky exit from the war-torn nation. Many Republicans are placing blame squarely on President Biden, while Democrats, who make up the bulk of the delegation, have focused on getting people out, pledging to demand answers about the process later.
Just 13 of today’s delegation held office in Washington when Congress authorized the use of military force following the Sept. 11 attacks. Here’s what some current members are saying now:

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

In a statement:
“The President is to be commended for the clarity of purpose of his statement on Afghanistan and the actions he has taken. The U.S., the international community and the Afghan government must do everything we can to protect women and girls from inhumane treatment by the Taliban.”

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy
(Associated Press)

In a media clip:
“This would have never happened under President Trump, the scenario of what transpired. They would have stopped what was moving forward. This Biden administration said they plan for every scenario. They told us two days prior that Kabul was not imminent.”

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.)
(Associated Press)

In a statement:
“I encourage the administration to do as much as possible to expedite the safe evacuation of Americans and Afghans whose lives are at risk of Taliban retaliation. I’m particularly worried about activists who vocally supported the rights of women and girls, all of whom will face significant jeopardy under a renewed Taliban government. We have an obligation to do all we can to save human rights advocates, translators, journalists and many others who worked with the United States and led the fight to build a civil society in Afghanistan.”

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Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)
(Shawn Thew / Associated Press)

In a news report:
“It’s been 20 years and there has not been a 9/11 on our soil type of incident. Was it going to be a permanent presence there?”

With the Taliban in control in Afghanistan’s capital and the Biden administration under fire for a chaotic withdrawal, a look at what went wrong.

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Rep. Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove)

In a media release:
“While there will be an appropriate time to examine the execution of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, our immediate focus must be on the safe evacuation of all Americans and our Afghan partners who assisted U.S. operations over the past two decades. As a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I strongly urge the Biden Administration to use all feasible diplomatic and military tools to ensure the safe evacuation of Americans and our Afghan partners.”

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Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley)

UNITED STATES - MAY 17: Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., attends a House Energy and Commerce Committee markup on May 17, 2018.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag)

On Twitter:
“My heart breaks as scenes unfold in Afghanistan. We must prioritize the safety of our brave service members, swift evacuation of diplomatic personnel, and expedite safe passage for our Afghan partners who served and sacrificed alongside us.”

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Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Menlo Park)

Anna Eshoo speaks during a hearing
(Shawn Thew / Associated Press )

In a statement:
“It was the right decision to end the forever war in Afghanistan. I travelled there several times and saw first hand the magnificence of our courageous women and men serving. Now the U.S. must do everything humanly possible to evacuate American personnel, the Afghans that assisted us, and journalists, and no artificial deadline should stop us. My office is working around the clock to assist those who are seeking our help.”

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Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita)

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita)
(Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

In a news release:
“As someone who has personally fought that mission and served in combat in the Middle East, I understand the situation at hand and why withdrawing our troops unconditionally with a set date was a reckless, deadly decision. I know the important role that our allies in Afghanistan played in protecting U.S. troops and journalists. I am heartbroken to see the devastation the ill-planned withdrawal has caused. Not only did the Biden administration’s decision cost lives and embolden terrorist organizations, but the administration has woefully failed to mitigate the foreseeable devastation the botched withdrawal caused.”

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Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont)

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Fremont) at a Washington event in June.
(Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)

In a news article:
“The question that people keep asking me is why couldn’t they have evacuated people before they pulled out troops....What is shocking and hurtful is the lack of sufficient concern for our allies, for vulnerable Afghans, for women and children.”

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Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra)

Rep. Young Kim (R-La Habra)
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

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In a news release:
“President Joe Biden’s rushed withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan without a plan to ensure stability in the region has created a national security and humanitarian crisis. As a result, we now have more US troops in the region than we had before the withdrawal and are scrambling to keep promises we made to the tens of thousands Afghan partners who helped us fight the Taliban.”

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Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

In a news release:
“An entire generation of Afghan women and girls have now seen the potential for a life of freedom and opportunity. The international community must continue to prioritize their rights and protection.... President Biden correctly laid out today what has been clear for 20 years: there has never, and will never be, a U.S. military solution in Afghanistan.”

Protests erupt in defiance of the Taliban, which brags that it forced the U.S. out of ‘our holy territory of Afghanistan.’

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Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

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In a statement:
“President Biden made the difficult but correct decision to complete the troop withdrawal process in Afghanistan that was initiated by the former President. If the United States could not win in Afghanistan after 20 years of war, we would not win if we stayed and fought for another 20 years.”

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Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose.)
(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

On Twitter:
“While America did more than our fair share in Afghanistan—20+ years of war, trillions of dollars spent, & thousands of our military men & women killed or injured—the urgency of those who fear persecution by the Taliban is tragic. Our country’s top priority must be ensuring the safe & immediate evacuation of those who demonstrated allegiance to the U.S. during the war.”

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Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare)
(Al Drago / Pool Photo)

In a news report:
“President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has needlessly imperiled countless American and Afghani lives.... The Biden administration must now do all it can to ensure that those they left to the Taliban’s mercy are swiftly extracted from that collapsed nation.”

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Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley Village)

Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley Village)
(Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)

In a statement:
“As an Afghanistan War Veteran who served in country from 2007-2008, the current situation on the ground is sickening. We fulfilled our mission to address and eliminate the threat of terrorism against our nation emanating from Afghanistan and brought Osama bin Laden to justice. Moreover, humanitarian, technological, and socially diverse seeds of change were planted that we now can hope take hold. For the sake of those who served and their families, for the people of Afghanistan, and for the reputation and security of America, we have a moral obligation to work with regional partners to promote Afghanistan’s adherence to international laws and human rights, and we must take every step necessary to ensure that the country never again becomes a safe-haven for the planning and execution of terror against the United States.”

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Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank)

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank)
(Jim Lo Scalzo / Pool Photo)

In a news article:
“After such a lengthy American military commitment, the continued presence of thousands of U.S. troops was unsustainable and would not have led to a different result years from now. And still, while a Taliban takeover of the country was foreseeable, it has taken place with tragic and breathtaking speed.”

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Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Northridge)

From a news report:
“To think that the Afghan army was going to fight for a few months so we can have an orderly withdrawal, who wants to be the last to die in this war?” Sherman said. “There was no good way to handle a defeat and a surrender. And there was no time at which we could have this orderly withdrawal and bring out tens of thousands of Afghans. [The U.S. is] good at moving in, taking out bad folks and leaving, but one weakness we have is we expect we’ll go in and make things perfect.”

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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin)
(Al Drago / Pool Photo)

On Twitter:
“If you’re willing to have one more American die in a 20-year war, please continue to criticize the WH decision on #Afghanistan. If you’re not, please do all you can to help the refugees who will be coming with nothing to America. It’s time for us to be our best & show compassion.”

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