Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a combat veteran and a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who served in the Reserve Forces for 23 years, issued the following statement on Aug. 16:

“The images we’ve seen of Afghanistan falling to the Taliban are tragic and incredibly difficult to watch, especially for the countless American servicemembers and military families who sacrificed greatly in that nation.

“Right now, my attention is focused on the evacuation, which includes ensuring our nation leaves absolutely no stone unturned in our efforts to secure the safe return of my constituents, including American hostage Mark Frerichs, as well as all Americans in Afghanistan and on safely evacuating as many of our Afghan partners as possible.

“For two decades, thousands of brave Afghans have chosen to put themselves and their families in great danger in order to support our troops’ mission in their country, and in return our nation made a promise that we would keep our partners safe. Many of them bled alongside our troops and thousands remain in grave danger as our nation completes its withdrawal. We should not break our word to them in this desperate moment of need.”

Duckworth’s office is tracking cases of Illinoisans in Afghanistan in need of repatriation closely and is communicating with the U.S. State Department. While the office cannot guarantee any specific outcome, it urges anyone who knows of an Illinoisan in Afghanistan needing assistance to contact the office.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on the evolving conditions in Afghanistan:

“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.”

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