The House Foreign Affairs Committee has received 300 new documents related to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. The American departure was largely viewed as chaotic and described by President Trump as the most embarrassing moment in US history. The investigation is led by Texan Representative Michael McCaul, who said extracting information from the State Department has been difficult. He added that Secretary of State Antony Blinken has promised regular updates, and he “hopes he is true to his word on that.”
The latest batch of files contains situation report memos from the Afghanistan Task Force, dated from mid-July to the end of September 2021, focusing on evacuation efforts. Documents requested by subpoena in July, and then again in August, detailing the Afghanistan After-Action Review (AAR), were not included despite the passing of an August 15 deadline.
McCaul subsequently wrote to Secretary Blinken, saying, “You have a legal obligation to produce the subpoenaed documents in a timely manner without further delay, and I intend to hold the Department accountable.” Rep. McCaul went on to state that the withheld files are the most important, and without them, the Foreign Affairs Committee cannot fully understand what transpired during the withdrawal and, therefore, cannot assess how to prevent the same “catastrophic” mistakes from recurring.
In June, a report issued by the State Department criticized the Biden administration, saying it did not listen to warnings that the Taliban would take over the country immediately after America’s departure. President Biden wrongly believed that the Afghan army, complete with US equipment, would be able to hold the Taliban out of Kabul, while the State Department developed a plan to “drawdown, evacuate and secure sensitive materials.”
The report admitted that the situation unfolded very differently in reality, and lives were in danger as the Taliban made rapid advances and evacuation efforts were speeded up to the point of chaos. President Biden has hinted that he blames Donald Trump for the embarrassing evacuation.