Dáil debates

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Afghanistan Crisis: Statements


7:02 pm

Photo of Michael CollinsMichael Collins (Cork South West, Independent) | Oireachtas source

The US military departed Afghanistan on 30 August, a day ahead of schedule, ending a 20-year occupation and leaving Afghanistan in the Taliban's hands. We all saw the news clips of the days of chaos at Kabul Airport, which were punctuated by a suicide attack on 26 August that killed as many as 180 people, including 13 American troops. It was one of the deadliest attacks of the war. The troops killed were the first American service members to die in the country since February 2020. President Biden stated that after nearly 20 years of war, it was clear that the US military could not transform Afghanistan into a modern, stable democracy.

It is hard to believe that the Americans spent 20 years, and millions of dollars daily, in Afghanistan and have nothing to show for it. While I am not an expert, the withdrawal, in my view, was hasty and has left the ordinary people of Afghanistan wide open to attack, as is evident on a daily basis. President Biden has a lot to answer for in this regard and little has been made of this fact. It is shocking to see the scenes since the withdrawal. Surely, in the 20 years of the American forces being in the country, they could have steered the country to more peaceful means, instead of it being thrown into chaos.

Afghans have seen nothing but war since the 1970s. Of the tens of millions of dollars pumped into the country, none were used for peaceful means. The war continues. Now we see the signs that it is being left to countries like Ireland and others across the world to try to help and aid the Afghans. I hope the efforts being made by countries across the world will enjoy greater success than the efforts made in the previous 20 years under American occupation. I wish, hope and pray that the Afghan people will not continue to suffer as they did. In fairness to this country, we have seen down through the years how the church has helped other war-torn countries. We always stepped in, fundraised and sent out moneys to help and give some comfort to people who were in terrible circumstances.

I do not believe the Irish will be found wanting in this case either.


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