Veteran and State Auditor Troy Downing on Afghan Resettlement
Air Force veteran and State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Troy Downing was on the KGVO Talk Back Show on Monday and discussed the resettlement of Afghan ‘humanitarian parolees’ in the Missoula area.
Downing first addressed the reason why the U.S. was involved in Afghanistan, after the attacks on September 11, 2001.
“In Afghanistan, that was a direct result of America being attacked on our own soil,” said Downing. “I mean, that was a direct response to our national interests, and it was a reaction to protect America from those that would do us harm, and they found a way to form to plan to fund and organize in Afghanistan.”
Downing explained the custom in Middle Eastern countries to welcome and shelter guests and to provide what assistance they might need.
“To the cultural idea of Pashtunwali, of ‘host-ism’, that's very cultural there, where you are given a very high honor by protecting somebody in your house, whether you agree with them or not, whether a good person or a bad person,” he said. “That's how you bring honor upon your house or your village or your country. And so that created this perfect storm that allowed Osama Bin Ladin to operate there, and I think it was very important that we had a strong and decisive reaction to that.”
Downing commented on the danger that the 75 Afghan refugees are facing by remaining in their own country.
“There are a lot of people who are at risk of losing their lives,” he said. “Just the basic humanity requires us, and it is our moral obligation to help those that are at risk like that. But again, we need to understand that these are not people that are trying to use that system to gain access where they really shouldn't have access, and I think it's really important that we stay vigilant and understand exactly who's coming and how they've been vetted.”
Downing commented on the reactions to the resettlement from Montana Congressional delegation and Governor Gianforte.
“Senator Daines and Governor Gianforte had also cautioned that they welcome these refugees as long as they had those caveats in their response, which I agree,” he said.
Congressman Matt Rosendale had a much more careful response to the resettlement, stating that proper vetting of the refugees was of maximum importance.
Downing was in Chicago for a national conference of state auditors.