House Oversight Republicans Renew Call to Probe Afghanistan Troops Withdrawal

House Oversight Republicans Renew Call to Probe Afghanistan Troops Withdrawal U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III in Kabul Afghanistan. (Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force via AP)

By Charlie McCarthy | Thursday, 27 January 2022 12:42 PM

Republican lawmakers have renewed calls for an investigation into President Joe Biden’s troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, The Hill reported Thursday.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., wrote committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to request that Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and national security adviser Jake Sullivan testify before the panel in a public hearing, The Hill said.

"The complete lack of oversight is conspicuously surprising considering the Committee’s consistent and bipartisan engagement on Afghanistan — including your own — prior to the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal," wrote Comer and Grothman, who both previously asked for a hearing on the issue in August and September.

"Rather than pursue transparency and accountability, Committee Democrats have remained idle. Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan and the region continues to worsen."

The two GOP lawmakers said that previous troops withdrawal briefings — including those with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, State Department, and with the Pentagon — were not satisfactory.

Blinken and Austin are scheduled to testify about Afghanistan in a closed briefing with the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees on Feb. 2.

After being asked about the Republicans' letter, an Oversight Committee spokesperson told The Hill, "Chairs Maloney and [Stephen Lynch] already held a public hearing that extensively covered the situation in Afghanistan just last month."

The spokesperson was referring to a Dec. 7 hearing of the National Security Subcommittee.

"Committee Members on both sides of the aisle had the opportunity to question witnesses from the Department of Defense and the Department of State at both the public hearing and at a classified briefing that followed," the spokesperson told The Hill.

The U.S. officially withdrew from Afghanistan on Aug. 31, marking the end of the 20-year conflict.

During the final days before the withdrawal, an Islamic State attack killed 92 people including 13 U.S. service members, just outside Kabul airport.

The Taliban triumphantly marched into Kabul's international airport and declared victory hours after the final U.S. troop withdrawal.