Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling for testimony from dozens of Biden administration officials on how the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan developed.
In a letter to the Foreign Minister Antony BlinkAntony BlinkenBlinken calls on Cuba to respect rights ahead of planned protests Blinken expresses concern over pressure on Taiwan in talks with Chinese counterpart Is Russia making a ‘serious mistake’ in Ukraine? MORE sent Monday, GOP lawmakers requested that at least 34 officials sit for transcribed interviews to answer “unanswered questions about the planning – or lack thereof – that preceded the reduction and evacuation.”
Top officials that Parliament’s GOP legislators are keen to hear from include Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Brian McKeon; John Bass, former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Head of the Evacuation Operations at Hamid Karzai International Airport; and Ross Wilson, Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Kabul.
The Republican letter is critical of responses and statements given so far by Biden administration officials in hearings and briefings with Congress, saying the purpose of transcribed testimony is “to establish a more detailed record.”
It said briefings so far “by State Department officials have been superficial exercises that mystify as much as they illuminate, with relevant actors often refusing to answer questions directly, addressing other colleagues or agencies or claiming not to have relevant information for their immediate availability and then offers to ‘follow up’ with answers that never seem to arrive. “
Blinken testified before the committee in September about the US withdrawal, and the committee has held at least two other hearings on Afghanistan, one with expert witnesses who are non-government officials and the other a closed hearing.
Republicans identified more than a dozen issues related to the U.S. withdrawal that they want to talk to officials about, including how the administration prepared for the end-of-August term and how it responded to the Taliban’s takeover of the country. .
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have expressed outrage over the handling of the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
While the administration evacuated more than 124,000 people from the country, the two-week evacuation efforts were defined by tragedy in which thousands of desperate Afghans crowded Kabul International Airport, Afghans were killed by planes and a terrorist attack killed dozens of Afghans outside the airport gates along with 13 US service members.
Democrats have argued that several administrations, Republican and Democratic, are responsible for the United States’ failure in Afghanistan. They have also reiterated Biden officials by saying that in the past President TrumpDonald TrumpStoltenberg says the siege on January 6 was an attack on ‘NATO’s core values’ Christie says that only regret over Trump’s debate preparation is to capture COVID woman who violated at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, deported to China MORE‘s agreement with the Taliban to set a tough deadline for the withdrawal of US forces contributed to the problems.
Republicans have singled out Biden for criticism and have made it clear that the issue will be part of their midterm strategy.
GOP lawmakers also want to put pressure on officials on the number of Americans who may have been left behind in Afghanistan and what the future of US policy toward Afghanistan looks like. Legislators also want a retelling of the months and weeks leading up to the decision to begin evacuations, and what communication and coordination was done when the evacuations began.