Montana State Auditor and Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Troy Downing asked to appear on the Montana Morning News show to express his views on the situation in Afghanistan.

Downing, a U.S. Air Force veteran specializing in combat search and rescue, spent time in Afghanistan and told KGVO that he believed the United States should have stayed to provide a buffer against the Taliban.

“Last time I was in Afghanistan, we had Canadians, we had British, we had Romanians we had everybody out there,” said Downing. “And I really truly believe that the reason that we haven't seen another September 11 type event is because we've kept them from being able to huddle together and figure out how to harm us, but we've kept them on the move.”

Downing said keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan is not only prudent, but necessary.

“People have asked me, Well, when is the appropriate time?” he asked. “We haven't seen anything in 20 years. When is the appropriate time? And my response has always been, well, your house isn’t on fire, so when do you want to take that fire department down from down the street? I think this is a long time endeavor. And I think there are American interests involved here because that has proven to be a hotbed where those who would harm us can form and train and communicate and figure out how to do that.”

Downing said the manner in which the U.S. withdrew merely provided propaganda for the Taliban and other enemies, such China and Russia.

“But now they can say, ‘Hey, we defeated the Russians. Now we've defeated the United States. You know, we're invincible’,” he said. Does that embolden them even more? So is that going back to square one or is it actually worse than when we started? Those are my concerns watching what's happening there right now.”

Downing believes a presence in Afghanistan could have an effect similar to that in South Korea.

“The Korean peninsula is probably the best example of chaos, and that we stuck to the course,” he said. “We've seen over time, there’s never been such a profound difference between North and South on the Korean peninsula. I think that's an excellent example. We stuck to the course there, and we've seen South Korea thrive. When was the last time we saw such a stark difference between that border between the North and the South? I think that's a prime example of what can be accomplished.”

That point is now moot with Afghanistan, said Downing.


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