Republicans plan investigation into Biden’s deadly Afghanistan withdrawal

Afghanistan
Taliban fighters and Afghan people gather around the dead body of security personnel inside the city of Farah, capital of Farah province southwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. Mohammad Asif Khan/AP

Republicans plan investigation into Biden’s deadly Afghanistan withdrawal

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House Republicans are beginning to lay the groundwork for their first investigations into the Biden administration, starting with a review of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year.

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, sent letters to a number of government agencies requesting documentation and other materials related to the troop withdrawal, accusing the Biden administration of committing obstruction.

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“It has been over a year since the Biden Administration’s botched Afghanistan withdrawal and the American people have not received any answers about this national security and humanitarian catastrophe. U.S. servicemen and women lost their lives, thousands of Americans were abandoned, billions of taxpayer dollars are still unaccounted for, military equipment fell into the hands of the Taliban, progress for Afghan women has stalled, and the entire region is under hostile Taliban control. Under a Republican majority, the Biden Administration’s obstruction of this investigation will be met with the power of the gavel,” Comer said in a statement.

The Kentucky Republican specifically refers to emails sent by Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko in which he defers sending information to the Oversight Committee until the department could complete its own evaluation, according to the letters sent by Comer.

“The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has notified this committee on multiple occasions of State’s obstruction to their congressionally requested investigations of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the continued risks to humanitarian and development assistance. This lack of cooperation raises serious questions,” Comer wrote. “What does State have to hide?”

Comer included a number of emails from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Treasury Department, accusing officials of “deferring cooperation” due to a “lack of jurisdiction.”

As Republicans prepare to take control of the House next month, Comer has sent letters to the State Department, the National Security Council, the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon, and the USAID, requesting internal communications or any related information about the planning of the September 2021 troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Oversight Committee is particularly interested in investigating the decision to conduct airlifts out of the Hamid Karzai International Airport and to permit the Taliban to be responsible for the airport’s security. Lawmakers will also investigate the lack of planning to help relocate refugees who were taken out of Afghanistan.

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The investigation comes more than a year after the United States completed a full withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, airlifting more than 12,000 people out of the country as the Taliban quickly seized control of the government. The operation has been heavily scrutinized, particularly after a suicide attack outside the Hamid airport left 13 Americans and roughly 200 Afghans dead.

The investigation is one of several that House Republicans plan to pursue once they take control in January. GOP lawmakers have also indicated they plan to open investigations into the president’s son, Hunter Biden, as well as the crisis at the southern border, with some Republicans considering impeaching DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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