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House Republicans to hold hearing on 2021 US exit from Afghanistan

US Afghanistan
Posted at 8:12 AM, Mar 08, 2023

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold its first hearing under Republican leadership Wednesday involving the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021.

House Republicans called the meeting, saying they have not gotten sufficient answers from the Biden administration about what caused the turbulent exodus from the country.

Amid the withdrawal, 13 U.S. troops were killed in an attack near a Kabul airport. More than 100 Afghan citizens were also killed.

Desperate Afghan citizens tried to board military airplanes out of Kabul.

In a two-week span, more than 80,000 people were flown out of Kabul. As the U.S. left, the Taliban retook control of the Afghanistan government.

Before Republicans took control of the House, Rep. Michael McCaul issued an interim reportin 2022 on the U.S. exit from Afghanistan. In the report, McCaul placed blame on the Biden administration, saying the president was advised to keep a small number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“The Biden administration’s own internal assessments understood that the Afghan military would be unable to defend the country from the Taliban without American air support, military advisors, and contractors, who they relied upon to enable the operation of the Afghan Air Force,” the report said. “The president was warned repeatedly that the return of the Taliban was a question of when, not if. And the resurgence of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations was by far the most likely scenario in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.”

McCaul now chairs the committee. The hearing will include testimony from several service members who were stationed in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued a joint statement with other Western envoys describing the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The envoys noted their “grave concern” for the “increased threat to security and stability in Afghanistan and the deterioration of the humanitarian and economic situation, with more than 28 million Afghans now in need of humanitarian aid.”