(Casey Harper, The Center Square) – House Oversight Republicans pledged to use their newfound majority to hold President Joe Biden “accountable” for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last year.
That withdrawal, the subject of much controversy, left 13 U.S. service members dead, billions of dollars of military equipment behind, and plunged Afghanistan into chaos as the Taliban quickly took power.
U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., was selected to chair the Oversight Committee and pledged in his acceptance to dig into what went wrong in Afghanistan and who is responsible. That investigation is one of several piquing Republicans’ interest as they lead the House for the next two years.
“The destructive path paved by the Biden Administration ends when Republicans have the gavel in January,” he said. “We will continue our investigations into the national security threat posed by the Biden family’s influence peddling and shady business schemes, President Biden’s border crisis, COVID origins and U.S. taxpayer dollars used to fund dangerous research in Wuhan, the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, President Biden’s energy crisis, waste and mismanagement of pandemic relief funds, and more.”
Comer did not waste time on the Afghanistan front. The same day as his chairmanship announcement, he sent a letter to several Biden administration officials demanding relevant documents, information and communications.
“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,” Comer said. “Under a Republican majority, the Biden Administration’s obstruction of this investigation will be met with the power of the gavel. We owe it to the American people to provide answers, transparency, and accountability.”
Recently released Gallup polling shows that Afghanis report a spike in suffering since the U.S. withdrawal. As The Center Square previously reported, Gallup released polling data of Afghanis earlier this month, which found that 98% of surveyed Afghanis “rate their life so poorly that they are considered suffering” while a quarter say their life right now is “the worst possible.” The poll also found that 39% say they expect their life in five years will be “the worst possible.”
“Between 2021 and 2022, the percentage of Afghans who have been unable to afford food they and their families need shot up 11 points to 86%,” Gallup said. “This is not only a new record high for Afghanistan, but it also statistically ties the world record for any country over the past 16 years (87% set by the Central African Republic in 2010).”
Critics have blasted Biden for Afghanistan as well as Ukraine, saying sending such large sums overseas without enough oversight is a recipe for disaster.
“Supporting our allies doesn’t mean blindly sending tens of billions of dollars with ZERO accountability,” U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., a veteran, wrote on Twitter. “Biden’s ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ approach is exactly how we wound up with the catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan.”