PATROL BASE SHARK, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – An infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, helps escort a combat vehicle full of supplies for an observation post. The Combined Anti-Armor Teams with the unit frequently make trips to several posts around their area of operations on re-supply missions. 2nd Marine Division Photo by Cpl. Marco Mancha Date Taken:04.25.2011 Location:PATROL BASE SHARK , HELMAND PROVINCE, ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF, AF. Via Wikimedia Commons.
On Wednesday, House GOP lawmakers held a hearing to expose the disastrous mishandling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan by the incompetent Biden administration. The hearing centered on the evacuation that resulted in the deaths of several American service members and the abandonment of countless Afghan allies. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, condemned the administration for leaving tens of thousands of vulnerable Afghan allies behind, exposing them to the brutality of the Taliban. He characterized the situation as a “systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level,” a damning indictment of the Biden administration’s ineptitude.
The Biden administration’s botched handling of the withdrawal has led to the abandonment of American citizens and allies, who now face the terrifying prospect of Taliban retaliation. During the hearing, lawmakers on the panel listened to heart-wrenching stories of the chaos and despair that unfolded in the final days of the Afghanistan war. Over 120,000 people were evacuated during the August 2021 airlift, but the Biden administration’s incompetence and lack of foresight resulted in countless innocent lives being put at risk. Nearly 800 civilian and military aircraft from more than 30 nations participated in the evacuation as the Taliban swept through the country, exposing the glaring weakness and lack of leadership of the Biden administration.
The Biden administration’s failure has not gone unnoticed by America’s NATO allies, who are disappointed and concerned about the impact on U.S. standing on the global stage. Despite the administration’s attempts to shift blame to the previous administration, President Biden’s hasty decision to withdraw troops based on an arbitrary timeline rather than the situation on the ground has been condemned by experts and members of both parties. The lack of a clear plan to rescue American citizens and allies in Afghanistan is yet another example of the Biden administration’s ineptitude.
The US House Foreign Affairs Committee’s investigation into President Biden’s role in the chaotic US exit from Afghanistan is long overdue. The hearing, and those to come, will shine a light on one of the most catastrophic moments of the Biden presidency. While the Biden administration tries to spin it as a success, the reality is that their incompetence and lack of leadership resulted in the deaths of American service members and the abandonment of countless Afghan allies. The committee will focus on the difficulty of evacuating allies as the US rushed to meet an end-of-August deadline to leave the country.
The US evacuated about 88,500 Afghans in August 2021, but at a steep price. Thirteen service members lost their lives as the military struggled to maintain control of the Hamid Karzai International Airport while Afghan allies were left stranded. Veterans’ groups and lawmakers had long warned that the US was not moving fast enough to process the Special Immigrant Visas given to those who aided military efforts in the country. The first hearing will feature veteran representatives from Task Force Pineapple and Allied Airlift 21, who organized charter flights out of Afghanistan, and Sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a sniper who was working at the airport gates, among others. Notably absent from the hearing are any Afghan people evacuated during the withdrawal or other representatives from the Afghan community, underscoring the Biden administration’s disregard for their plight.
Lawmakers held the meeting with groups led by volunteers and veterans who conducted flights to assist Afghans seeking refuge from their country. Among these groups was Task Force Pineapple, founded by retired Lt. Col. Scott Mann, a former Green Beret. During the meeting, Mann briefed the lawmakers on the group’s efforts to transport Afghans to safety from the Taliban.
During the hearing, Lt. Col. Scott Mann would go to tell the lawmkaers:
“We didn’t have any resources, or battlefield access or time, but we had something that a lot of people didn’t — relationships and trust.”
During the hearing, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said:
“What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level,”
Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a 25-year-old Marine sniper, provided a heart-wrenching testimony to lawmakers about the disastrous suicide bombing that severely injured him and others at the Kabul airport. He described the withdrawal as a complete failure and blasted the “inexcusable lack of accountability and negligence” on the part of the Biden administration.
The top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Gregory Meeks, tried to defend Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan despite the catastrophic consequences. However, the reality is that the administration’s handling of the evacuation was a disaster, as evidenced by numerous hearings on the matter. The US is still dealing with the fallout from the war, and the administration’s mismanagement of the situation has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many Americans.