Bay Area Rep. Barbara Lee 'heartbroken' over Afghanistan crisis 20 years after voting against war

Kate Larsen Image
ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Rep. Lee reflects 20 years after voting against Afghanistan war
Thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies need to be evacuated from Afghanistan.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies need to be evacuated from Afghanistan.

"I'm heartbroken and terrified," said East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who says she is working day and night to make sure American citizens, diplomats, and Afghan allies can safely leave the country.

RELATED: 7 killed as Kabul airport plunges into chaos while Taliban patrols Afghan capital

"Right now, families are terrified here in the United States about what's taking place with their loved ones in Afghanistan."

Many of those families are in the Bay Area.

"We cannot locate him, he's still stuck in Afghanistan," said Nabila Faqirzadeh about her brother, who grew up in Fremont, and is now a U.S. contractor working in Afghanistan. She says he's in hiding from the Taliban with his employees. "Their lives are at risk."

RELATED: Bay Area Afghan community fearful for family in Middle East

The events currently unfolding in Afghanistan have left the Bay Area Afghan community devastated.

"It's a feeling of despair," said Hayward resident, Mizgon Zahir Darby, whose Aunt in Afghanistan is trying to protect three teenage daughters from Taliban soldiers. "She has so much fear and trepidation about her daughter's being ripped out of her arms, literally, because that's what's happening."

Twenty years ago, three days after 9-11, Representative Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the open-ended war authorization, saying this at the time: "some of us must say let's step back for a moment, let's just pause just for a minute, and think through the implications of our actions today, so this does not spiral out of control."

Monday, she said, "I knew then, like I know now, that there's no military solution in Afghanistan".

WATCH: Former interpreter explains dire fate for Afghans who assisted US troops and how you can help

A former interpreter for US troops in Afghanistan explains the likely fate for Afghans who assisted the United States.

But Lee says she still supports President Biden's decision to withdraw troops. "We know that another 20 years would yield the same terrible, terrible results."

Lee says there will be plenty of time to analyze how this crises took hold, but right now the immediate issue is the protection and safety of Americans and allies in Afghanistan. "I want to make sure that people get out and we get these visas, Special Immigrant Visas".

Tens of thousands of people still need to be evacuated.