U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik 25 Aug 2021

Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, has been critical of the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal since the country’s government was overrun by the Taliban earlier this month.

More than 80,000 Afghans and U.S. citizens have been evacuated from the country, but scores more are still flooding the airport in the hopes of escaping Taliban rule.

On Thursday, Stefanik said the president “has blood on his hands” and said his “weak and incompetent leadership” is what led to the national security and humanitarian crisis unfolding in the country.

“The buck stops with the president of the United States. Joe Biden has blood on his hands. This horrific national security and humanitarian disaster is solely the result of Joe Biden’s weak and incompetent leadership. He is unfit to be commander-in-chief,” she said in a statement.

In addition to the U.S. military personnel, at least 60 Afghans were killed when a pair of suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds gathered outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in the hopes of being evacuated.

Ten Marines were among those killed in the attack and 18 service members were wounded, according U.S. officials.

The attack was believed to be carried out by the Islamic State group. The IS affiliate in Afghanistan is more radical than the Taliban.

Western officials had warned of a major attack ahead of the Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline.

Biden, in an address to the nation following the attacks, vowed to complete the evacuation and avenge those killed.

“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place of our choosing,” he said. “These ISIS terrorists will not win. We will rescue the Americans; we will get our Afghan allies out, and our mission will go on. America will not be intimidated.”

In a statement, Stefanik said her heart is with those impacted by the attack and their families.

“Our hearts break across the country for the brave service members who made the ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “Their families are facing unimaginable news today. Please pray for them.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul directed flags on all state building to flown at half-staff Friday in memory of those killed.

“The cowardly attack on innocent civilians and selfless service members at Hamid Karzai International Airport struck at the heart of our democracy and freedom itself,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, a U.S. Navy veteran, said his heart goes out to the family and friends of the troops killed and criticized Biden for his “failed leadership” in Afghanistan.

“Frankly, I’m disgusted by the lack of planning that has led to this security, as well as humanitarian, crisis. The situation in Kabul is obviously very grave. The consequence of the Biden administration’s failed leadership in Afghanistan is now more tragically apparent.”

State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, asked for people to pray for those killed during the attack.

“Please keep these courageous American patriots, and their families, in your prayers,” she said in a statement. “And please pray for the safety of our servicemen and servicewomen and the safe return of all Americans and our allies.”

Elise Stefanik

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said President Joseph Biden is unfit to serve following the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport that killed dozens and wounded more than 100. Twelve U.S. service members were among those killed. 

Chad Arnold is a reporter for The Post-Star covering the city of Glens Falls and the town and village of Lake George and Washington County government. Follow him on Twitter @ChadGArnold.