Top House Republicans to release report on 'catastrophic flaws' of Afghanistan withdrawal

The one-year anniversary of the withdrawal, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed, is Aug. 30.

Published: August 15, 2022 8:39am

Updated: August 15, 2022 8:47am

Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee say they'll release a report this week that provides more information on what they call the "catastrophic flaws" of the Biden administration's military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The one-year anniversary of the withdrawal, in which 13 U.S. service members were killed, is Aug. 30.

In an open letter published by Fox News, GOP committee members Reps. James Comer, Michael McCaul, Mike Rogers and Mike Turner, along with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, say the administration has "spent the past 12 months misleading the American people to avoid accountability for its failed withdrawal in Afghanistan."

The remainder of the letter reads: "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 U.S.-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."  

The lawmakers also say the report will provide details on how the 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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. …

"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."

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