The Biden administration has dramatically underestimated the number of US citizens trapped in Afghanistan at the end of the US military’s withdrawal, a new report on Monday suggests.
More than 800 Americans have been rescued from “behind enemy lines” by the State Department in the year since the US withdrew from Kabul on August 30, 2021.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in September of that year that fewer than 100 Americans were still within Afghanistan’s borders, trying to escape.
The conflict-ravaged country had fallen to the Taliban on August 15, just four months after President Joe Biden followed Donald Trump’s deal with the terror group to withdraw.
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee release a report suggesting that Biden and his State Department “did not plan” in the withdrawal “led to chaos and confusion.”
A preliminary copy of the report was obtained by DailyMail.com.
It sheds new light on how ill-prepared the government was for the withdrawal, including the fact that there were only 36 consular officers to deal with the thousands of Afghans who tried to escape at the height of the operation.
Republicans are also revealing security concerns stemming from elite Afghan fighters who have no path to security from the West, who are forced to seek shelter in Iran — some bringing sensitive military technology such as vehicles with them.
The withdrawal attempt was also “so disorganized” that officials in the offices of Vice President Kamala Harris and First Lady Jill Biden reached out to veterans groups to get people to the airport.
Taliban take to the streets during a national holiday to mark the first anniversary of the Taliban takeover on August 15, 2022 in Kabul
Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s 118-page report outlines ongoing threats to national security from US withdrawal
The White House dismissed the report as “biased” and said it was “riddled with inaccuracies” in a rebuttal.
The National Security Council pointed out that the Trump-Taliban agreement, which “weakened our partners in the Afghan government,” paved the way for the precarious situation.
But the Republicans’ report accuses the Biden administration of lying to Americans at home about the deteriorating state of affairs.
The Minority Committee has also gathered evidence that senior political appointees from the Biden administration have repeatedly misled the American public about the situation on the ground in Kabul, issuing wildly pollyan statements about progress at the airport and the cooperation of the Taliban. carrying out the evacuation,” the report reads. .
“Government officials have made these statements despite press releases showing an extremely chaotic situation on the ground in Afghanistan and at the hastily assembled transit locations around the world.”
Biden faced bipartisan criticism for the chaotic operation, which was rocked when an ISIS-K suicide bomber exploded outside Hamid Karzai International Airport, killing nearly 200 Afghans and 13 US servicemen.
House Republicans heard testimonies from former officials who believe the attack could have been prevented if US troops were in charge of security outside the airport rather than the Taliban.
The report suggests US officials did not accept the Taliban’s Aug. 15 offer to gain “greater control over security in Kabul.”
Among the findings is testimony from officials who say that if US forces had checked security in Kabul — as the Taliban offered on Aug. 15 — the ISIS-K terror attack outside the airport might not have taken place.
In addition, if US troops had not been stranded at the airport, the crowds outside the gate would not have been so packed, a situation that has contributed to the high number of deaths and injuries.
But lawmakers warn of lingering US national security risks even a year after the withdrawal.
Chief among them is the “significant” number of Afghan Special Operations Forces fighters, many of whom had been trained to use US-made weapons alongside US troops, who were forced to flee to Iran.
Their extensive knowledge of and cooperation with American troops made them valuable targets for the Taliban.’
“The Taliban are reportedly already involved in retaliatory killings targeting former members of the Afghan security forces, particularly the Afghan commandos who often fought alongside US forces,” the report said.
Republicans believe that the 3,000 or so who fled to Iran did so because they saw no help coming from the US government.
Former CIA paramilitary officer Mick Mulroy told: Foreign Policy Magazine“I think most Afghans who were in the commandos and other special forces were very close to the American.”
“But if you had no choice and the only place you could go to escape the Taliban was Iran, and they are the ones who are going to pay your bills and take care of your family, then they will have a hard time. to not take that opportunity because they really don’t have any options,” said Mulroy.
The last planes carrying US troops left Afghanistan on August 30, 2021 – an end to a 20-year occupation
They could now be forced to give valuable military intelligence to Tehran.
Some elite fighters are eligible for the P1 visa pipeline with the White House’s Operation Allies Welcome.
Of the refugees who managed to reach Afghanistan, only 25 percent were women and girls — despite the Biden administration’s promise to help them amid the repressive Taliban regime.
Some 1,450 Afghan children were evacuated without their parents, and ‘many’ have yet to be reunited.
The White House National Security Council said on Monday, “This partisan report is full of inaccurate characterizations, plucked information and false claims.”
It argues for endless wars and for sending even more US troops to Afghanistan. And it ignores the consequences of former President Trump’s flawed deal with the Taliban,” the government said.
GOP Representative Michael McCaul, the top member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Sunday that his report reflected no error on the part of the intelligence community — putting the lion’s share of the blame on Biden and Blinken.
“The problem was that the White House and the State Department were burying their heads in the sand, not wanting to believe what they were saying, and so they didn’t mean well,” he told CBS News’ Face The Nation.