Somali-born Air Force veteran says Biden's Afghanistan withdrawal sparked her run for Congress

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A Somali-born immigrant and Air Force veteran is running for office as a Republican in the Baltimore area, explaining that the “Defund Police” movement and the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan motivated her to run for Congress.

“The military service and government service brought me to Maryland,” Amal Torres told Fox News Digital. 

The House Republican hopeful in Maryland’s third congressional district told Fox News she was working in the defense industry at Fort Meade as an intelligence analyst before she decided to run for office. Torres explained that she changed course after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, believing she could no longer serve “apolitically.”

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Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday, Aug. 17, 2021

Hundreds of people gather near a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport plane at a perimeter at the international airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Monday, Aug. 17, 2021
(AP)

“You have to be apolitical when you’re in the Department of Defense and you have to work under the president who’s the commander-in-chief, and you have to obey all orders above you. And that was up until Afghanistan. The fall of Afghanistan and watching the catastrophe that that was. I couldn’t serve apolitically in that organization anymore. I couldn’t fulfill the oath of service in true faith with what the president was doing,” she said, deciding to instead run for political office.

“I knew I had to be a part of the solution and that’s why I switched to fulfilling a more political role and running for office at the congressional level. So that we could hold the executive branch accountable and be a part of that solution.”

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The former Air Force cryptologic intelligence analyst referred to the botched U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan during the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country. The Taliban had moved quickly through the country ahead of the planned U.S. withdrawal last summer, catching the U.S. off guard and leading to chaotic scenes at Kabul airport including a suicide bombing that killed 13 American soldiers.

Taliban fighters stand guard during women's protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Ahmad Halabisaz)

Taliban fighters stand guard during women’s protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Ahmad Halabisaz)
(AP Photo/Ahmad Halabisaz)

Torres, 31, says that she often tells people she “wasn’t lucky enough” to be born in the United States of America. Born in Mogadishu, Somalia, Torres came to the United States with her mother and siblings in the late 90s fleeing the civil war in Somalia. 

Torres was raised by her mother in Aurora, Colorado, and enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school. While attending college, Torres “put a pause” on her studies to pursue the military. She went on to become an intelligence analyst for the Air Force for six years. Torres was deployed to the Middle East in support of the U.S. war on terror. 

Amal Torres serving in the United States Air Force

Amal Torres serving in the United States Air Force

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Torres told Fox News Digital that residents are most concerned with rising crime.

“It was heartbreaking to see that Marylanders have been so impacted by the crime that’s happening in the state.” she said.

Noting that Baltimore has one of the highest crime rates in the country, Torres added that people want safer neighborhoods regardless of their political beliefs.

A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag during an event in remembrance of George Floyd and to call for justice for those who lost loved ones to the police violence outside the Minnesota State Capitol on May 24, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag during an event in remembrance of George Floyd and to call for justice for those who lost loved ones to the police violence outside the Minnesota State Capitol on May 24, 2021 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)
(Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The killing of George Floyd in 2020 by a police officer sparked a national phenomenon as liberals pushed for the defunding of police departments and broader criminal justice reforms in major cities. 

Baltimore has seen a general surge in crime, including violent crime. Homicides are up 11% and non-fatal shootings are up 30% compared to 2021, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore has suffered 81 reported homicides so far in 2022, an increase compared to the same point in 2021. Baltimore has surpassed 300 homicides for six years in a row, and is on track to do so again.

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Torres said that while she believes Black people’s lives matter, she made clear that the organization Black Lives Matter is “not dedicated to the lives of Black people or enabling any sort of productive outcome that supports protecting the lives of Black people.”

“We need to do everything in our power to make sure that communities feel safe, and that they are not targeted for any reason by anybody,” Torres said.

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Torres has also expressed support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ parental rights bill that bans teachers from discussing gender identity with young children and tweeted that she wants the policy pushed on the federal level.

Casey and Ron DeSantis, the first lady and governor of Florida 

Casey and Ron DeSantis, the first lady and governor of Florida 
(Florida governor’s office )

“I like what DeSantis is doing because he’s holding educators accountable to the parents with regard to keeping material like gender and sexuality age-appropriate,” she added.

Maryland’s third congressional district encompasses parts of Baltimore city, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County.

Torres will face off against Antonio Pitocco, Yuripzy Morgan, Lance Griffin, and Thomas Harris in the Republican primary on July 19. The winner will take on incumbent Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., in November.



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