Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Committee are kicking off their investigation into the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan Friday, sending letters requesting information to the White House, Pentagon, State Department, Department of Homeland Security, USAID and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
This investigation is one Republicans tried to start in August 2021 while they were in the minority, but they say they didn’t receive substantive responses. Now in the majority, House Republicans on the committee, led by Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, are giving the various agencies until March 3 to respond. Holding the House majority also gives the GOP subpoena power, although Republicans haven’t issued subpoenas at this point.
Comer and his fellow Republicans on the committee are requesting all documents, communications and information related to what they call the administration’s “disastrous” military and diplomatic withdrawal from Afghanistan. Thirteen U.S. troops were killed in an suicide attack in Kabul during the August 2021 withdrawal, and that, combined with the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and forces, led to a refugee crisis, as Afghans tried to escape the country while the Taliban were taking over. The U.S. conceded that it had underestimated how quickly Afghan forces would collapse.
“The Biden administration was tragically unprepared for the Afghanistan withdrawal and their decisions in the region directly resulted in a national security and humanitarian catastrophe,” Comer said in a statement. “U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives, Americans were abandoned, taxpayer dollars are unaccounted for, the Taliban gained access to military equipment, progress for Afghan women was derailed, and the entire area is now under hostile Taliban control. The American people deserve answers and the Biden Administration’s ongoing obstruction of this investigation is unacceptable.”
President Biden rarely brings up the withdrawal from Afghanistan, although he forcefully defended it at the time.
“I was not going to extend this ‘forever war,’ and I was not extending a ‘forever exit,'” he said at the time.