SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Over the last 20 years, many of the U.S. troops in Afghanistan were from Southern New England, including Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss.
After graduating from Harvard, Auchincloss joined the Marines and commanded infantry in Afghanistan and special operations in Panama.
Auchincloss, a first-term Democrat, was a platoon commander in Afghanistan in 2012 at the end of the Obama-era surge and spoke with 12 News as the takeover by the Taliban unfolds.
He’s spent time up close and personal with the Taliban and the Afghan troops, which the U.S. troops were working to train.
“What we have seen in the last 48 hours is a sudden takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but the counterinsurgency has been going bankrupt gradually for 20 years now,” Auchincloss said.
According to Auchincloss, the counterterrorism aspect of the US presence in Afghanistan was successful, citing the death of Osama Bin Laden and the prevention of terror attacks on our soil. However, he called the counterinsurgency mission an “unmitigated disaster,” claiming there is a lack of political partnership in Kabul.
In light of that, Auchincloss said he supports President Joe Biden’s decision to pull out the U.S. troops from the region ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline.
“Nobody wants to see the Taliban in charge of Kabul, that’s a worst-case scenario, but this president inherited only bad options from his predecessors and he made the decision to me that situates the United States in the best position possible going forward,” Auchincloss said.
Auchincloss went on to say that U.S. forces can now be freed up to focus on what he called transitional threats like climate change and public health.