Hawaii congresssional delegation share opinions on Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

Local News

Courtesy: Associated Press

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Military officials are continuing to monitor the crisis in Afghanistan as thousands attempt to evacuate the country.

Thousands of Afghans swarmed onto the tarmac of Kabul’s International Airport trying to flee as the Taliban seized control of the city.

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Many so desperate to escape they followed and held onto the wings of a US military jet as it taxied off the runway.

At least seven people were reportedly killed in the chaos with some falling from the plane.

President Biden spoke about what’s taken place in the last 10 days with the Taliban now in control of the country.

Sen. Mazie Hirono who is a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee called the conditions in Afghanistan a humanitarian crisis.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding before our eyes in Afghanistan. We are all witnessing the chaos at the Kabul airport. We must prioritize the evacuation of American citizens and our Afghan partners and their families who supported us during this 20-year war.

Afghan women and girls who will be targeted by the Taliban also urgently need our support. We should take whatever action is necessary to protect them.

In the midst of this unfolding crisis, the contributions of servicemembers and their families, veterans, Gold Star families, diplomats, humanitarian workers and others who supported the Afghan people, will not be forgotten.”

Senator Mazie K. Hirono 

Rep. Kai Kahele called for immediate solutions to evacuate Americans and Afghan allies in the wake of the Taliban resurgence in Kabul.

Before becoming a lawmaker, Kahele was deployed to Afghanistan as a member of the National Guard.

As a National Guardsman and C-17 pilot who was deployed to Afghanistan multiple times in support of air mobility operations, including aeromedical evacuation operations, I believe that we must immediately initiate Noncombatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) through United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) whereby activating all available air mobility assets worldwide necessary to evacuate all American civilians and Afghan allies immediately. In addition we must secure the entire Hamid Karzai International Airport with the 82nd Airborne Division and additional forces if necessary before it becomes too difficult to accomplish that mission. Finally, we need to deploy a robust Tanker Airlift Control Element (TALCE) to provide the operational mission support elements to safely and effectively execute this monumental no notice air evacuation.

Now is not the time to deliberate courses of action, we must act swiftly. I urge the administration to airlift our Afghan partners, their families and those who have applied for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV) to the United States Pacific Territory of Guam as was suggested two months ago. The United States must provide a path for safety for those who worked alongside our troops. Failure to do so will have long term consequences that may be too difficult to overcome in future conflicts. 

My thoughts and prayers this evening are with our American citizens, our Afghan allies as well as our U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan and those being deployed at this very moment. I pray for their safety and their expedited return to their families.

Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele

Rep. Ed Case said he stands by the presidents decision to withdraw our troops, but admits the consequences were more immediate and severe than expected.

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He says our first priority must be helping evacuate the nation.

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