Blackburn: "It Is Impossible To Act As A Legitimate Government When Your Goal is Not To Govern"

October 4, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) gave remarks on the Senate floor regarding the botched Afghanistan withdrawal and the current state of the country under Taliban rule.

To watch Senator Blackburn’s speech, click below or here.

You can read the transcript below or in the Congressional Record.

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary  of Operation Enduring Freedom, and the start--the beginning--of those

combat operations in Afghanistan. It is a benchmark that makes what has happened on the ground during and since our disastrous withdrawal from  Kabul all the more disgusting.

Over the past 2 months, we have listened in disbelief as mouthpieces 

at the State Department, the Pentagon, and the White House talked about 

the Taliban in the same way they would have addressed a legitimate 

governing body.

Last week, during a hearing before the Armed Services Committee, we 

saw our civilian and military leaders evade responsibility for the 

violence, death, and chaos that has occurred on their watch. But we 

also listened closely as they revealed appalling inconsistencies 

between the spin from the White House and the reality of the situation 

on the ground.

Here is the reality: Afghanistan is under the control of terrorists. 

These terrorists have longstanding ties with al-Qaida and the Haqqani 

network, and those relationships aren't going to take a back seat now 

that the Taliban is in charge of the entire country. This was no 

ordinary transfer of power. Afghanistan isn't Germany or France or the 

United States, and we shouldn't pretend that it is, because it is 

impossible to act as a legitimate government when your goal is not to 

govern but your goal is to manipulate through acts of terror.

This is what the Taliban is doing, and it is not happening in secret. 

The cameras are rolling. The world is watching. Inclusivity clearly 

isn't a priority, as much as the White House would like to make out 

that it is. The Taliban cleared out the women's affairs ministry and 

replaced it with ``Ministry for Preaching and Guidance and the 

Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.''

The Taliban's desire to curry favor with China has Uyghurs living in 

Afghanistan running scared. Afghanistan was a haven for these people 

during the Cultural Revolution, and now the families of those who fled 

are afraid that the Taliban is going to round them up--yes, round up 

the Uyghur Muslims--and sell them--that is right--sell them to the 

Chinese Communist Party in exchange for economic aid.


Fears that the Taliban would weaponize access to the internet became 

reality before the last American left the country. They are well on 

their way to creating a tightly controlled online cesspool of dangerous 

anti-Western propaganda.


Meanwhile, the Afghan economy is in the gutter. The Taliban's 

military campaign shut down basic commerce in much of the country, 

making food shortages worse and putting a million children--a million 

children--at risk of starvation and death.


Healthcare infrastructure is collapsing. And now the Afghan people 

are facing the possibility of blackouts because the Taliban can't be 

bothered to figure out how they are going to pay the electric bill.


And what intel we do have suggests that al-Qaida will use this chaos 

void left by Biden's disastrous withdrawal to rebuild their operations. 

That is right--al-Qaida is present in Afghanistan.

I think it important to understand that all of this violence and 

disorder barely scratches the surface of what the Taliban is capable of 



On August 20, President Biden stated with absolute certainty: ``I 

have seen no question of our credibility from our allies around the 



During last week's hearing, General Milley disagreed with that 

assessment. I disagree with that assessment, as do many Tennesseeans 

that I talk with when I am home every weekend. They understand that 

Operation Enduring Freedom may have come to an end, but that the world 

is still watching to see how the United States of America is going to 

respond to one of the most anti-equality, anti-peace, and anti-freedom 

organizations on the face of the Earth.


Our actions and our reactions will inform those from the rest of the 

world, and it is time for the Biden administration to recognize that 

and to act accordingly.