A draft of their report, provided to The Washington Post, There are new details about the number of Americans left behind when the last military transport left Kabul’s international airport and the lack of State Department officials to process thousands of Afghans trying to flee Taliban capture. But overall, there are some major revelations.
A Republican aide said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of ground rules set by the committee Because the State Department refused to hand over documents or consent to interviews, investigators had to rely on public records and material provided by whistleblowers. An agency spokesman said in response that officials have briefed Congress more than 150 times since the withdrawal and continue to update lawmakers on efforts to relocate and resettle Afghans.
It was unclear Sunday night when the report would be made public.
exile, Unprecedented in scaleHeld in the last two weeks of August 2021, After the Taliban entered Kabul, Capital, forcing the immediate fall of the US-backed government. More than 120,000 people were taken out of the country, but the mission was overshadowed A suicide attack which killed approximately 200 Afghans and 13 US Armyand then a US drone attack failed Due to which 10 civilians died.
President Biden and his national security team have faced criticism for ordering a full withdrawal Pentagon recommendations The military maintains a modest footprint in Afghanistan to empower local forces. Critics have also blamed his administration for the disorder both before and during the evacuation, which thwarted many attempts to escape.
“There was a complete lack and failure to plan,” said Rep. Michael McCaul (Tex.), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “There was no plan and no plan was executed.”
In a statement, the White House denied the investigation’s findings, labeling the document a “biased report” that is “full of mischaracterizations, cherry-picked information and false claims.”
“When President Biden took office, he faced a choice: escalate the war and put more American troops at risk, or finally end the United States’ longest war after two decades of American presidents sending American troops to fight. Afghanistan,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson wrote in response to the report.
Over the past year, Biden repeatedly Defended his decision Ordering US troops to withdraw, calling the war unwinnable while blaming the Trump administration for negotiating a hostile deal that he has criticized as setting conditions for a US exit.
The administration is wary of GOP efforts that many congressional observers say would be impeachment season if Republicans take control of the House — a possibility that’s within reach since Democrats hold only a slim majority.
Several Republican lawmakers have filed proposed charges against Biden From withdrawal from Afghanistan to alleged “corruption”. His son Hunter Biden. Such moves are widely seen as an attempt by Democrats to subject Biden to the same investigative scrutiny applied to his predecessor. Donald Trump, who was twice impeached by the House but never convicted in the Senate.
The report, damning in places, was prepared by McCall’s staff. He did not join the GOP in calling on Biden to confront Congress’ ultimate oversight tool. But his team did not reject such a result.
“President Biden decided to withdraw US military forces despite advice that such a move could benefit the Taliban on the battlefield,” the report said, adding that the decision cost American and Afghan lives. in grave danger.
“President Biden is misusing the advice he received,” it said. “President Biden continues to lie about this, months after his withdrawal.”
The report accused Biden of being particularly indifferent to the fate of those affected.
“No one has expressed more indifference and lack of urgency about the dire situation facing SIV applicants than President Biden,” the report read, using the acronym for Special Immigrant Visa, a limited visa category for certain Afghans who helped the entire United States. 20 Years War. Biden, it said, “reneged on his pledge” to remove American citizens.
Administration officials vehemently deny that the White House has adequately prepared for a US troop withdrawal.
In the spring of 2021, after Biden was inaugurated, the administration began conducting “tabletop exercises” on the potential consequences of such a move. But White House officials said the intelligence community underestimated how quickly Taliban fighters overcame the Afghan army and swept into Kabul.
“We conducted extensive contingency planning throughout the spring and summer of 2021, and pre-positioned forces in the region helped us evacuate more than 120,000 people — including more than 70,000 Afghans we’ve welcomed into our communities across the country,” Watson said.
Administration officials have tried to justify the blunders during the evacuation by citing chaos in and around Hamid Karzai International Airport. The The report illustrates just how dire the scene was — and how unprepared, its authors say, Biden’s team proved.
For example, the investigation found that At the peak of the evacuation only 36 US consular officers were on site at the airport. Due to staff shortages, the authors concluded, this led to a large administrative backlog. Thousands of people who have The proper documents to enter the United States were eventually left behind.
It was also found in the investigation That 1,450 Afghan children were evacuated with or without guardians.
Perhaps most problematic for Biden, the investigation found that “more than 800” American citizens were left behind, many times that number. 100 to 200 Officials in the administration claimed to be stuck when withdrawals ended on August 31, 2021.
The US government continues to facilitate immigration And, as of late last month, 84 American citizens Those who remain are still trying to leave, a committee aide said.
The report’s authors also provide new details about the Afghan security forces left behind. About 3,000 people took their equipment and vehicles with them to Iran. If there is Iranians recruited as intelligence assets, a committee aide said, could pose a serious threat to U.S. national security, given how closely some units are working with U.S. forces.
“We believe this happened because they were not kicked out by the US or our allies and therefore had no other choice,” Committee Assistant said.
The report’s authors state in the report that their findings are incomplete and need to be explored A thorough examination, what approach the GOP will take if the GOP gains a majority in the House and the subpoena power that comes with it.
More than have been identified in the report Republican lawmakers have called 40 people for interviews, including Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, if a deeper investigation is launched. in Meanwhile, House Republicans A vote is expected next month Compelling the State Department to provide the committee with the missing documents and other materials it seeks.