Sen. Warnock: Questions will “rightly be raised” about Afghanistan exit strategy

CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. — Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., gave military families the chance to share some pressing concerns on the heels of Thursday’s suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan that killed at least 60 Afghans and 13 U.S. Troops.

Before the roundtable discussion, Warnock held a moment of silence for those13 service members who lost their lives.

Sen. Warnock tweeted Thursday night that he’s doing everything he can to help with evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.

“We’ve had constituents reach out to us who have connections with people who are there, some American citizens, some Afghan allies who supported us through this 20-year ordeal,” Warnock said “And we’ve been reaching out to our contacts in the state department,” He added.

“There are questions that will rightly be raised about where perhaps the exit strategy could’ve been done better,” he acknowledged when asked by another reporter what his thoughts were on President Biden’s exit strategy.

“But right now, I think it’s really important to get our people out of there.”

This was just one topic throughout the 45-minute conversation. More than a dozen people representing different families living on or near the Kings Bay Naval base gathered at the Camden County Chamber of Commerce to speak candidly about issues like mental health services, child care, and housing.

Blue Star Families, a group that military spouses founded in 2009, helped plan this meet-up.

Janessa McMillen, an active-duty Navy spouse, moderated the discussion. “This roundtable means everything. It’s nice to be able to give spouses a platform to amplify their voices,” she said.

McMillen brought up a lack of access to mental health services, resulting from a lack of child care or appointments.

Action News Jax reporter Jessica Barreto asked Warnock how he planned to address these concerns.

“Part of this problem is if you look at this issue historically, is that too often mental healthcare has not been seen as healthcare and so we have to start there. We have to start with the recognition,” he responded.

McMillen wants this recognition to go all the way to Washington, D.C. “I’m hoping that this will be the first of many opportunities,” she said.