National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen Lynch Has Concerns With Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal

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Members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation such as U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss (D-Newton), U.S. Representative Seth Moulton (D-Salem), and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge) expressed their support for President Joe Biden’s intentions of withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. However, U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) is not among them.

In a statement provided to NewBostonPost by his communications team on Wednesday afternoon, Lynch expressed his concerns with the target date:


While I certainly share the desire to disengage militarily from Afghanistan, withdrawing all U.S. troops by September still comes with significant risks to U.S. national security, Afghan self-government, and the stability of the region. 

Multiple credible witnesses, including former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joe Dunford, former Senator Kelly Ayotte, and Special Inspector General John Sopko, have recently testified before our Subcommittee and warned that the complete withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan by the Trump Administration’s May 1st deadline was likely to have disastrous consequences for our national security, as well as the future stability of Afghanistan and the nascent rights of women and girls in that country.

Under current conditions, the potential Taliban overthrow of the Afghan Government remains a strong possibility.  Civil war would seem a virtual certainty.  For those reasons, I look forward to discussions with the Administration to more fully understand the strategy that will enable us to successfully adhere to this new timeline.  To that end, I have requested a briefing with Special Representative Khalilzad, and I look forward to inviting Administration representatives to testify at a hearing on this momentous decision in the coming weeks.


Opposing troop withdrawal in Afghanistan is nothing new for Lynch. He did the same when Donald Trump was president last year.

In November 2020, reports stated that the Trump administration wanted to reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to 2,500 respectively by mid-January. This came at a time with 4,500 troops in Afghanistan and 3,000 in Iraq.

Here is what Lynch told CBS Boston’s Jon Keller at the time:


Well, first of all, we’re at a very delicate point in our negotiations with the Taliban. We’re very concerned about the status of women and girls in Afghanistan. There are also major offensives going on right now in Kandahar Province almost to the point where the Taliban are at the doorstep of Kandahar city. Also in Helmand province, there’s a major surge going there as well. So, you know, we’re seeing a lot of casualties among the government forces in Afghanistan, so this is a very precarious time right now and by signaling that we’re coming out no matter what happens, I think we encourage the Taliban to pursue a military victory there, and that would be disastrous for the civilian population and the current government and the military forces and police in Afghanistan that are trying to provide a stable government. 

So, it’s a very bad message to send. It also puts the new administration, the Biden administration, in a very difficult position as well in trying to re-stabilize, if you will, the situation on the ground there. So I think the president’s decision was made against the best advice of his military leaders I know that our allies there, remember we asked people to join us in Afghanistan — so the Brits, the Canadians, the Czechs, the French — we’ve got a lot of people on the ground there and now, we’re pulling out and they’re very upset that we’ve sort of gone back on our word and we’re doing this in a very, very sudden manner that really isn’t measured by the facts on the ground. It’s really measured by political considerations on the part of the departing president.


The United States has been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, entering the country shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. The country has spent more than $6.4 trillion on war since, including more than $2 trillion in Afghanistan. More than 2,300 American troops have died in Afghanistan, and the United States still spends about $45 billion per year there.

It’s an unpopular war; 76 percent of Americans favor bringing the troops home from Afghanistan, according to The National Interest. Still, Lynch, the chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, might not be on board with Biden’s proposal.


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