Exclusive — Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna: ‘We Need to Put Partisan Politics Aside’ and ‘Support the President’s Goal’ of Withdrawing from Afghanistan, Syria

In this file photo, Ro Khanna, then a Democratic candidate for U.S. Representative from California's 17th District, gestures during his speech Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Fremont, Calif. Rep. Khanna is the lead sponsor for House Democratic legislation that would declare a formal end to the Korean War. (AP Photo/Ben …
AP Photo/Ben Margot

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a progressive Democrat, called for Republicans and Democrats alike to put their differences aside and back President Donald Trump’s efforts to withdraw the United States from the war in Afghanistan.

“We need to put partisan politics aside and we need to support the president’s goal of withdrawing troops,” Khanna said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. “I was for striking Afghanistan when we were hit in 9/11. I have no problem using force to go after the terrorists who committed evil acts and attacked our homeland. We had to respond and we had to respond forcefully. We did. But there is no rationale for trying to have a regime change in Afghanistan and make sure that we defeat the Taliban. In fact, every time George Bush and Obama and Trump have asked for surges, they’ve been ineffective. The Taliban has gained control of more territory. So we ought to withdraw and we ought to make it very clear to the Taliban that if there is any harboring of Al Qaeda or terrorists that are going to attack in any way the United States then we reserve the right to go strike them. They better not do it, and they will have a clear deterrent to know that we aren’t messing around. But we also ought not to have a permanent troop presence there.”

President Trump campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan. The war has been going on since 2001, and is now in 2019 nearing its 18th year—America’s longest war in the history of the country. Former President Barack Obama also campaigned on ending the war in Afghanistan, but never successfully ended it.

Trump has taken steps to withdraw troops and end the war as his administration engages in negotiations with the government in Afghanistan. In his State of the Union address this year, Trump vowed to end the war in Afghanistan—and also to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria now that the Islamic State (ISIS) has been been defeated.

Khanna, in his exclusive interview with Breitbart News, agreed that the U.S. needs to withdraw from Syria as well, and credited Trump at least in part for defeating ISIS. Khanna said that Obama started a strategy that Trump continued on ISIS, something many conservatives will probably disagree with, but the fact he is giving Trump credit on ISIS at all as a progressive Democrat is particularly noteworthy.

“I think we need to withdraw our troops [from Syria],” Khanna said. “We have—the Obama strategy which Trump continued worked. ISIS is largely defeated. I give credit to President Obama for starting that strategy and President Trump for continuing it. ISIS is no longer there. We now can withdraw our troops. We should make sure there is a regional agreement—with Turkey we should make sure they are not going to try to annex the Kurds. We have a lot of leverage with Turkey given that they are an ally, and we should try to make sure there is a regional agreement in place. Look, I think [Syrian dictator Bashar al] Assad is a war criminal. He’s used chemical weapons. He’s the monster of the 21st century and probably one of the most evil people who exists. We should continue to make it clear and build an international consensus that he doesn’t use chemical weapons again—and ultimately he should be tried for war crimes. We’re working on making that case. But I don’t think American troops should be there.”

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