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The Biden administration spent the past 12 months misleading the American people to avoid accountability for its failed withdrawal in Afghanistan. The administration has stonewalled congressional requests for information and continues to deny the American public, and especially Afghanistan war veterans, much-needed answers on how the withdrawal unraveled into unmitigated chaos, and ultimately caused a reemergence of al-Qaeda in the heart of Afghanistan. This is a failure of leadership and an abdication of the responsibilities of the commander-in-chief.
During those chaotic weeks last August, the world witnessed horrific images coming out of Kabul. Hundreds of American citizens were abandoned by their own country behind enemy lines, relying on personal contacts to help get them out. Billions of dollars’ worth of US-supplied military equipment and weapons, given to the Afghan government, is now unaccounted for and in the possession of the Taliban and other bad actors. The Taliban brutally beat and murdered innocent civilians. Desperate Afghans clung to departing C-17s only to fall to their deaths. The confusion and chaos caused by the Biden administration led to the tragic murder of 13 American service members – the single deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan since 2011.
Attempting to justify his tumultuous exit, President Joe Biden claimed last year that al-Qaeda was ‘gone’ from Afghanistan. Yet less than one year later, the United States rightfully killed al-Qaeda’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, during a counterterrorism operation in Kabul. However, this not only underscores the extent of the Biden administration’s failures in Afghanistan, but is evidence that Afghanistan is once again becoming a haven for terrorists.
These strategic failures are too serious to ignore. That is why House Republicans are committed to pursuing answers to Biden’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. As a part of those efforts, this week Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee will publish a comprehensive report that sheds light on the catastrophic flaws of Biden’s Afghanistan disaster.
The report details how the Biden administration made decisions based more on politics and panic rather than a sound plan. Moreover, it will highlight the numerous deficiencies regarding the withdrawal, including the arbitrary timeline, a refusal to heed the advice of military personnel, misleading statements made publicly by administration officials, the refusal to secure Kabul, the lack of a meaningful vetting process for individuals looking to leave Afghanistan, and the lack of an accounting of the US military equipment left behind for Taliban use.
Furthermore, the report raises more key questions that require additional investigation, such as how decisions were made in the White House regarding the withdrawal timeline, the decision to pull out troops before civilians and diplomats, the absence of adequate plans for evacuating Americans and our Afghan allies who served alongside the US military, the decision to abandon Bagram Air Base, the loss of Kabul, and this administration’s dealings with the Taliban .
To get answers to these important questions, House Republicans have sent dozens of letters requesting detailed answers on behalf of the American people. The Biden administration, however, continues to ignore these requests. The administration refuses to provide Congress with sufficient answers to why officials misled Congress and the American people on the dire situation in Afghanistan in the months leading up to, and during, the withdrawal, and why the Administration took so few steps to evacuate Americans and key Afghan allies leading up to the Taliban takeover. The Biden administration also owes answers on why certain decisions were made, such as outsourcing the security of Kabul to the Taliban at the expense of Americans’ safety.
The contradictions in the administration’s comments are too stark to ignore. We cannot allow partisan actors to continue to politicize our institutions by concealing information and manipulating the facts, especially when it comes to important national security decisions. We must restore trust with our citizens and allies by achieving transparency in the grave errors that led to the horrendous withdrawal. House Republicans, if given the opportunity to hold the majority next Congress, will demand answers, hold open hearings, and ultimately provide the American people with the transparency they deserve.
After 20 years of war, Americans – especially our service members – deserved to have a sound plan to draw down our military presence in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, rather than develop a coherent strategy that would have protected Americans and prevented the resurgence of al Qaeda, the Biden administration’s inept withdrawal a year ago was disgraceful, disastrous, and deadly. House Republicans will hold the Biden administration accountable on behalf of the American people, and we will honor the sacrifices made by so many American families during the 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.
Republican Rep. Michael McCaul represents Texas’s 10th congressional district and is the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers represents Alabama’s 3rd congressional district. He is ranking member on the House Homeland Security Committee and a member of the Armed Services Committee.
Republican Mike Turner represents Ohio’s 10th congressional district. He is the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Republican James Comer represents Kentucky’s 1st congressional district where he is ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.