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EXCLUSIVE: Dozens of House Republicans are demanding answers from the Pentagon and State Department’s leadership one year after the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, which saw 13 U.S. service members killed and hundreds of Americans left behind as the country was overrun by the Taliban.

“The absolute failure of the Afghanistan withdrawal carries no less pain today than it did twelve months ago,” Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who led a letter signed by 64 lawmakers Tuesday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Fox News Digital. 

“There must be accountability for the complete and total failure on the part of Joe Biden and those who were advising him. We owe it to our fellow Americans, to our allies in Afghanistan, and to the loved ones of the thirteen service members who lost their lives at the Kabul airport to get answers from this administration,” he continued.

The lawmakers are sending a letter to Austin and Blinken seeking responses to many “unanswered questions” in the year since the U.S. withdrawal.

BROTHER OF MARINE KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL COMMITS SUICIDE AT MEMORIAL FOR FALLEN SERVICE MEMBER

"The absolute failure of the Afghanistan withdrawal carries no less pain today than it did twelve months ago," Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who led a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Fox News Digital<strong>.</strong> 

"The absolute failure of the Afghanistan withdrawal carries no less pain today than it did twelve months ago," Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who led a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Fox News Digital<strong>.</strong> (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

“On the first anniversary of the disastrous withdrawal of American troops, equipment, and personnel from Afghanistan, we write with regard to the many unanswered questions that still surround this unnecessary loss of life, including 13 members of the military and Americans left behind,” the Republicans, including GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik and Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson, write.

“There must be more transparency and significant oversight to ensure that disasters on this scale will be prevented moving forward. We must also ensure that those in charge are held accountable for their actions that led to this catastrophe,” they continue.

A spokesperson for President Biden’s National Security Council drafted a memo earlier this month defending the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, writing that the president “refused to send another generation of Americans to fight a war that should have ended long ago.”

“Bringing our troops home strengthened our national security by better positioning us to confront the challenges of the future and put the United States in a stronger place to lead the world,” wrote National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, who died Aug. 26, 2021, in the suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Knauss, who died Aug. 26, 2021, in the suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. (U.S. Special Operations Forces Command)

The House members listed a series of questions, including: 

Whether all missing Americans have been accounted for;How many special immigrant visa (SIV) applicants have been evacuated;Where the $7 billion of U.S. military equipment was left in the hands of Taliban forces ended up;Whether there is a plan to prevent a similar loss of military equipment in the future;Why there wasn’t a worst-case contingency plan set in place before the withdrawal.

The State Department did not give a number when asked by Fox News Digital how many Americans who want to leave and Afghans who have applied for SIVs remain in Afghanistan.

“We continue to work with U.S. citizens who have expressed a desire to depart Afghanistan and have the necessary travel documents to do so,” a spokesman said. “This number fluctuates regularly as U.S. citizens change their minds about leaving, or as some continue to return to Afghanistan for various reasons.”

Sgt. Nicole Gee was one of the 13 Americans killed during the withdrawal of Afghanistan.

Sgt. Nicole Gee was one of the 13 Americans killed during the withdrawal of Afghanistan. (Misty Fuoco)

In a letter to the forces Tuesday marking one year since the withdrawal, Austin wrote: “So last year, in the war’s final days, the United States, along with our partners and allies, conducted the largest air evacuation of civilians in American history, lifting more than 124,000 people to safety. I’m proud that our military communities – and Americans from all walks of life – have welcomed our Afghan allies as they begin new lives in our country.”

“As our country looks back on two decades of combat in Afghanistan, I understand that many people have hard questions about the costs of the war and what their sacrifices meant. These are important discussions, and I hope we will keep having them with thoughtfulness and respect,” he stated.

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“Your mismanagement on every level of the withdrawal of American troops and personnel from Afghanistan deserves serious and diligent oversight. We await your responses,” the Republicans write.

“The fall of Kabul represents a complete and utter failure of leadership by those in charge.”

Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar contributed to this report.

Kelly Laco is a politics editor for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @kelly_laco.

Source Link:
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/house-republicans-demand-answers-blinken-austin-year-after-afghanistan-withdrawal

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