The House Foreign Affairs Committee is looking to grill nine key State Department officials about President Biden’s “chaotic and deadly” Afghanistan withdrawal.
The request from committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, comes two years after the U.S. military ended its 20-year presence in Afghanistan as its capital, Kabul, fell to Taliban fighters in a lightening-fast offensive.
McCaul wrote in a statement that the nine officials “have important information that is critical to uncovering how and why the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan resulted in a disgraceful surrender to the Taliban, the death of 13 U.S. servicemembers (sic) and injuring 45 more — all which could have been prevented.”
“This was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions,” he continued. “… The committee will continue to interview additional current and former administration officials involved in the planning and execution of the withdrawal.”
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The U.S. is looking back two years after the military withdrew from Afghanistan after two decades. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP via Getty Images / File)
The people summoned include Ross Wilson, former U.S. acting ambassador to Afghanistan, Suzy George, the chief of staff to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, among others.
McCaul asked them to arrange a date and time for transcribed interviews with the committee by Sept. 7, just days before House lawmakers return from their six-week August recess.
Fox News Digital reached out to the State Department for comment but did not immediately hear back.
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House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Mike McCaul has been investigating the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images / File)
On Tuesday, McCaul led a committee roundtable with the loved ones of the 13 U.S. service members killed outside then-Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul during the withdrawal’s final days. The Pentagon concluded last year that a suicide bomber was responsible for the blast that killed 11 Marines, a member of the Army and a Navy sailor.
He told them the committee was to sit down today with Ambassador Dan Smith, who was tapped to lead the State Department’s review of the withdrawal in late 2021.
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Grieving relatives took turns sharing how the loss of their loved one has affected them and their families, with many accusing the Biden administration of mismanaging the operation and later looking “to lie and cover up their failures,” according to the mother of one Marine.
“All I can do is offer you my promise,” McCaul told them. “I will not relent in this investigation. I will fight with every fiber [of] my being and leave no stone unturned until we have the full truth as to how the hell this happened.”
Gold Star families spoke at a House Foreign Affairs Committee roundtable on Tuesday. (Screenshot)
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The Pentagon responded to the roundtable in a statement on Tuesday, expressing “deepest condolences” and gratitude for the service members who gave their lives but also defending U.S. officials’ actions that day.
“U.S. military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan made the best decisions and provided their best military advice based off what was known at the time and leaders took appropriate action in response to reported threat streams,” a Pentagon spokesperson said. “From the investigation at the tactical level, the Abbey Gate attack was not preventable without degrading the mission to maximize the number of evacuees, and the leaders on the ground followed the proper measures and procedures.”