BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Taliban forces continue their sweep through Afghanistan, Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger on Monday released a statement supporting the Biden administration’s withdrawal from the country and calling the safety of American personnel on the ground the “number one priority.”

Ruppersberger said he supported the president’s deployment of additional forces to the capital city, Kabul, to facilitate a safe departure for allies and partners.

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“Although a Taliban advance in Afghanistan leading up to and following our departure was a well-stated possibility in many hearings and policy conversations in Washington over the last year, any amount of foresight and planning does not make their rapid advance across the country any less painful,” Ruppersberger said. “Especially to those, many of whom I represent in Congress, who have deployed and fought for our American values in Afghanistan over the last 20 years and lost loved ones and dear friends. The country will never forget your sacrifice.”

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Ruppersberger, a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, said he expects Congress will be briefed by the White House on the Taliban’s takeover of the Afghan government.

“Many questions will be asked at that time and in the days ahead of what we could have done better or planned for more vigorously,” he said. “There is no question about the difficulty that lies ahead of us in ensuring we continue to support our allies and partners in the region.”

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The Congressman, whose district includes parts of Howard, Harford, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, and Baltimore City, said the country must protect “Afghans who are vulnerable under any Taliban regime,” including women and children, and called for refugees who assisted with U.S. efforts to be relocated.