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New GOP Report: Biden Misled Public on Afghanistan

By Susan Crabtree for RealClearPolitics

The frantic and lethal U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan was so disorganized that 1,450 kids have been evacuated with out their dad and mom, and senior leaders in Vice President Kamala Harris’ and first woman Jill Biden’s places of work, in addition to one of many Joint Chiefs of Workers, requested personal veteran teams for help evacuating sure individuals from the nation.

Within the waning days of the evacuation, greater than 1,000 girls and ladies waited greater than 24 hours on dozens of buses, desperately circling the Kabul airport and attempting to keep away from Taliban checkpoints. Lots of them have been informed a number of instances they weren’t allowed to enter the airport. Now, practically a 12 months because the Taliban took management of the nation, fewer than one-third of them have managed to flee the nation.

These are simply a few of the findings in a brand new report by Republicans on the Home Overseas Affairs Committee one 12 months after the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital of Kabul, virtually immediately rolling again greater than twenty years of U.S. and NATO navy assist and nation-building efforts.

Extra broadly, the report, which RealClearPolitics obtained late final week, asserts President Biden and high officers in his administration repeatedly – and maybe deliberately – misled the American individuals once they stated the autumn of Kabul got here as a shock and there was no different aside from relying on the Taliban for safety within the Afghan capital because the U.S. navy evacuated swiftly.

RELATED: Biden Left Hundreds Of Americans Behind In Afghanistan

The report asserts that the chaotic withdrawal that left greater than 800 Americans stranded within the nation was fully avoidable if Biden and his nationwide safety group had listened to the warnings and recommendation of navy leaders, U.S. diplomatic officers working on the bottom, and worldwide allies.

It provides that one of the vital tragic outcomes of the evacuation – the dying of 13 U.S. servicemembers and 160 Afghans in a suicide bombing on the Kabul airport – might have been prevented if the administration had accepted the Taliban’s Aug. 15 supply for the U.S. to manage the capital metropolis’s safety till the top of the withdrawal.

Such an association would have allowed American forces to increase the airport’s safety perimeter, creating extra space for evacuating Afghans and a much more orderly course of. It additionally would have prevented U.S. servicemembers from being penned in amid the frantic crush of Afghans desperately attempting to board U.S. navy planes, leaving them weak to the suicide assault, a number of former officers informed committee Republicans, in response to the report.

“There have been many sins if you’ll – there was a whole lack of and failure to plan,” Rep. Mike McCaul, the highest Republican on the panel informed CBS Information’ Face the Nation Sunday. “There was no plan executed.”

In a brand new memo over the weekend, the White Home began defending its choice to withdraw troops, arguing that the transfer strengthened U.S. nationwide safety by releasing up navy and intelligence brokers and property. The memo, written by Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson and first reported by Axios, is a direct response to the Home Republicans’ interim report outlining their view of the administration’s withdrawal failures.

It assails the Home Republicans’ report as a partisan train “riddled with inaccurate characterizations, cherry picked data, and false claims…. It advocates for infinite struggle and for sending extra troops to Afghanistan, and it ignores the impacts of the flawed deal that former President Trump struck with the Taliban,” the memo states.

Republicans are standing by their findings, arguing {that a} failure to plan left the State Division with solely 36 consular officers on the airport attempting to course of a whole bunch of hundreds of individuals in a matter of days. These officers have been overwhelmed, McCaul stated, however the lack of assets for a withdrawal of this magnitude was simply one of many many errors concerned in failing to plan for Kabul’s fall regardless of a number of warnings.

A number of high U.S. navy leaders for months had warned the president that the Afghan authorities would doubtless collapse if the U.S. left fewer than 2,500 troops stationed there, the report states.

RELATED: Has Our Government Learned Its Lesson From The Afghan Withdrawal?

The report additionally cites “extra practical assessments on the bottom,” together with a July 13, 2021, embassy cable from 23 U.S. personnel assigned to the embassy in Kabul, which reportedly contained “a stark warning” in regards to the potential collapse of the Afghan state. The cable, which the Wall Avenue Journal first reported a 12 months in the past, and was despatched to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Director of Coverage Planning Salman Ahmed, known as on the State Division to reply extra urgently to the Taliban’s offensive.

Though Blinken acknowledged the existence of the cable, he has refused to share it or disclose his response to it with congressional committees, together with the Home Overseas Affairs Committee.

The largest mistake of all, McCaul argued, was Biden’s rejection of the Taliban’s supply for the U.S. to take management of Kabul’s safety till the evacuation was over.

“Take into consideration what that may have modified,” McCaul stated. “We needed to depend on the Taliban to safe the perimeter of [the airport], that led to the chaos, and it additionally led to the suicide bomber who killed 13 servicemen and ladies and injured a whole bunch of individuals.”

The Biden administration additionally rebuffed different presents that would have helped forestall the frantic crush of Afghans on the airport and protect America’s status overseas, the report states. U.S. leaders ignored a proposal from Guam for the U.S. territory to function an interim processing heart to assist evacuate interpreters and different at-risk allies. It equally declined a suggestion from Pakistan to have a facility there function a transit heart for evacuees, regardless of different services in Qatar and Germany reaching capability.

The report, which can function a roadmap for a number of strains of inquiry if Republicans win again the bulk in both chamber this fall, is predicated on open-source data, together with interviews with U.S. officers and civilians concerned in evacuating U.S. residents and Afghan allies. A number of whistleblowers who requested anonymity additionally performed a key position, together with sworn statements by U.S. navy personnel who have been a part of the investigation into the August 26, 2021, suicide bombing on the Kabul airport.

The State Division didn’t adjust to requests for paperwork and transcribed interviews with 34 administration officers concerned within the Afghanistan evacuation effort. The report additionally criticizes the total Home Overseas Affairs Committee, led by Democratic Rep. Greg Meeks of New York, for holding only one full committee listening to with senior Biden administration officers on the Afghanistan withdrawal despite the fact that it’s widely known as one of many worst U.S. overseas coverage failures in many years.

RELATED: Unfinished Facility In Afghanistan Led To $103 Million Of Waste

Whereas the report says extra State Division assets would have helped ease panic and confusion, it faults the company for primary communication miscues that additional exacerbated the chaos.

By ignoring early warnings that they weren’t shifting shortly sufficient to evacuate Individuals and at-risk Afghans who had labored immediately with the U.S. authorities, they left Americans, green-card holders, and Afghan allies permitted for departure stranded outdoors airport gates with no help.

“Makes an attempt by members of Congress and their workers to assist their constituents or different would-be evacuees have been usually stymied by out-of-office replies to e-mail requests and damaged hyperlinks to net pages imply to submit data,” in response to the report.

It additionally criticizes U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ross Wilson for occurring a two-week trip as Afghanistan was falling aside. Wilson took his summer time break instantly after accompanying then-Afghanistan President Ghani to a late June assembly with Biden who promised the Afghan envoy, “We’re going to stay with you, and we’re going to do our greatest to see to it that you’ve the instruments you want.”

“There have been no selections made within the embassy till [Ross] returned in mid-July. This made motion inconceivable,” a U.S. navy officer informed Military investigators. “Floor might have been gained right now if the embassy had been in a position to do something.”

A few weeks later, it was Biden and Blinken who have been on trip at Camp David and the Hamptons, respectively, when alarms started sounding on the Pentagon for the necessity to relocate all of U.S. embassy personnel to the Kabul airport. Earlier than the transfer, the personnel have been being ordered to destroy delicate paperwork in response to new fears of an instantaneous Taliban takeover of Kabul.

All these hasty actions left no time for the State Division to hurry up the processing of immigration purposes for the Afghan allies Biden had promised to guard.

There have been no plans made to evacuate tens of hundreds of U.S.-trained Afghan commandoes and different elite models who possess delicate data about American navy operations.

Additionally left behind: girls leaders and troopers whom Individuals had promised sanctuary, together with greater than 10,000 Afghans who had been employed by Embassy Kabul because it was re-established in 2001 and hundreds extra who labored with U.S. Company for Worldwide Growth.

Practically one 12 months after the final U.S. troops left Afghanistan, the Biden administration nonetheless lacks a plan to assist these at-risk Afghan allies who fought and labored alongside U.S. forces, despite the fact that the administration has admitted that the Taliban and different terrorist teams have subjected these U.S. allies to killings and compelled disappearances.

And, regardless of Biden’s assurances that the U.S. had achieved its unique objective of expelling al Qaeda and different terrorist teams from the nation, the report factors to the current U.S. strike towards Ayman al Zawahiri, a high al Qaeda chief, who was residing freely in downtown Kabul, as proof of the group’s presence in Afghanistan.

“Fortunately, al Zawahiri was killed by a U.S. drone strike final month, however officers warn that al Qaeda and ISIS-Okay proceed to develop their presence in Afghanistan,” the report states.

In the meantime, the withdrawal has wreaked havoc on the nation’s economic system, with some estimates that 95% of the nation wants emergency help to keep away from starvation. With the Taliban again in management, there are reviews of focused revenge killings towards those that labored with the U.S. authorities or navy. U.S.-based volunteer teams in search of to assist Afghan evacuees have reported practically 500 reprisal assaults, together with beheadings, hangings, severed limbs, lash marks, and automobile shootings.

The United Nations Help Mission in Afghanistan reported in July 2022 that these killings are sometimes carried out “execution type – for instance, when a person is taken out of their home and shot virtually instantly,” the report notes.

RELATED: As the Anniversary of the Afghanistan Withdrawal Approaches, Those in the Biden Administration Brace for Impact

One of many worst casualties of the U.S. withdrawal from the nation is the dramatic regression of girls and ladies, who at the moment are ordered to put on burqas and are prevented from attending faculty or universities and even from strolling unaccompanied in public locations.

Little one marriage can also be reportedly on the rise with ladies as younger as 9 years previous being offered into marriage to repay money owed, or households being compelled to marry off their younger daughters to Taliban fighters, the report states, quoting PBS documentary filmmaker Ramita Navai’s feedback earlier this month after two visits to Afghanistan.

The report additionally cites a discovering by Amnesty Worldwide that “many ladies protesters” in Afghanistan who demonstrated towards the Taliban’s repressive insurance policies “have been subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance and torture,” together with Taliban-administered beatings and electrical shocks with tasers.

Though Blinken acknowledged reprisal assaults and killings earlier this 12 months, the report factors out that the secretary performed down the Taliban management’s accountability for the deaths.

“We’re in fact seeing retribution, assaults by Taliban towards those that are a part of the previous authorities,” he informed a Home Overseas Affairs Committee listening to on April 28. “These appear to be, for probably the most half, not centrally directed, that’s they – they are usually occurring at an area stage, however they’re occurring.”

Many of those allies are nonetheless sheltering in secure homes, afraid that the Taliban informants will expose their earlier work with the U.S. authorities or NATO allies. Every passing week, they’ve fewer assets to buy primary gadgets comparable to meals, gas, and shelter.

With the State Division unable to assist these individuals, the duty of clothes, feeding, and sheltering tens of hundreds of Afghans has fallen to outdoors veteran or humanitarian teams or sympathetic people. With virtually no assist from the U.S. authorities, a few of the personnel working these teams, lots of them comprising navy veterans, have drained their private retirement accounts, stop jobs, and suspended their small companies with a purpose to elevate the funds to function these networks of secure homes.

“However these funds are usually not limitless, and the useful resource strains incurred have endangered the continued existence of those secure homes which many Afghans and Individuals depend on for his or her very survival,” the report concludes.

Syndicated with permission from Actual Clear Wire.

Susan Crabtree is RealClearPolitics’ White Home/nationwide political correspondent.

The opinions expressed by contributors and/or content material companions are their very own and don’t essentially replicate the views of The Political Insider.

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