US lawmakers investigate problems with US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021
The Republican-majority House of Representatives on Wednesday launched an investigation into President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in August 2021. Immigration experts and representatives of the U.S. military who helped with the evacuation effort testified that the chaotic retreat was the result of decades of wrong decisions.
The final days of the US presence in Afghanistan have been marred by chaos and death, as the Taliban’s rapid advance caught the US military and the State Department by surprise.
“Due to President Biden’s administration’s dereliction of duty, the world saw painful scenes unfold in and around Kabul airport for the next two weeks,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul.
Republican lawmakers are leading investigations into the events of August 2021. Democrats argue that the groundwork for the chaotic withdrawal was laid by the previous administration.
“In the years leading up to the 2021 withdrawal, the decision to engage in direct negotiations with the Taliban, excluding the Afghan government, and the invitation to meet at the presidential resort ‘Camp David’ confirmed international legitimacy for the Taliban,” says the Democratic lawmaker. , Gregory Meeks.
Congress is also questioning why there is a delay in processing visas for tens of thousands of Afghans who were promised safety in exchange for aid to US forces.
Peter Lucier is with Team America Relief, which has helped support evacuation efforts.
“This is not the story of Biden’s failure or Trump’s failure. But the American failure and the effect it has had and continues to have on the Afghans.”
An estimated 122,000 people were eventually flown out of Afghanistan in the first days of the Taliban takeover. But the immigration status of those Afghans who reached the U.S. is still uncertain, and tens of thousands more remain stranded in Afghanistan.
“We were moved to tears when we heard the messages left by children begging for our help,” Francis Q. Hoang with the organization “Allied Airlift 21:” said at the hearing.
US soldiers also testified that unclear rules of engagement at Kabul airport left them vulnerable as they claimed it resulted in the bombing, the deadliest day for Americans in Afghanistan in 10 years.
“The withdrawal was a disaster. There was an inexcusable lack of responsibility and negligence. No one has claimed responsibility for the 11 Marines and one soldier who were killed that day (by the suicide bombing),” said US Marine Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews.
US lawmakers say the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense will soon testify about the roles their departments played in the evacuation.