Source: United States House of Representatives – Representative Young Kim (CA-39)
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Young Kim (CA-39), who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee and as Vice Ranking Member of the Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation Subcommittee, led a letter with 18 of her colleagues to President Joe Biden demanding more briefings and answers to Congress as Americans and partners remain behind enemy lines following the Biden administration’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
“The Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan continues to be a predictable and preventable disaster with short and long term national security and humanitarian consequences,” said Congresswoman Kim. “As we work to save Americans and allies still trapped behind enemy lines and evaluate how to revise our national security approach in the region, Congress must continue to use its oversight powers and hold the Biden administration accountable. The American people deserve answers.”
Congresswoman Kim was joined in sending the letter by Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Chabot (OH-01), Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost (IL-12) and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), August Pfluger (TX-11), David Valadao (CA-21) and Tim Burchett (TN-02), Lisa McClain (MI-10), John Rutherford (FL-04), Brian Mast (FL-18), Peter Meijer (MI-03), Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Troy Balderson (OH-12), Ted Budd (NC-13), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Carlos Gimenez (FL-26) and Ben Cline (VA-06).
Read the full letter HERE and highlights below:
Since the August 31st deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, Members of Congress have received little to no engagement from this Administration on classified briefings and updates on the situation in Afghanistan and ongoing efforts to evacuate our citizens and Afghan partners. While we appreciate Secretary of State Antony Blinken for appearing before the House and Senate this week, we fully recognize that his remarks were limited to Administration talking points and failed to fully answer our concerns.
We request that your Administration provide more frequent classified briefings for relevant congressional committees as our Afghanistan policy continues to evolve. Past briefings on Afghanistan for Congress have been dominated by presentations from Department officials that left little time for questioning or provided time-limited briefings in a closed setting at the unclassified level. Both approaches are equally unhelpful, and it leads to the kind of frustration expressed this week during House and Senate hearings.
Contrary to your repeated statements, the implementation of this withdrawal has been an unmitigated disaster. While we applaud the work of rank-and-file employees of the State Department and Department of Defense, the heroism of our armed forces deployed to assist evacuations, and the sacrifice of the 13 servicemembers who were killed by ISIS-K, it would not have been required in the first place had there been an informed and coherent strategy in place.
As you said previously, ‘the buck stops here.’ As long as Americans and our Afghan partners remain behind enemy lines and the Taliban continue to provide safe haven for terrorist organizations, Congress has a responsibility to hold your Administration accountable for your actions and demand compliance with all oversight requests made of the White House and relevant Departments.
We expect your immediate consideration of this request and urge the return of members of your administration to Congress to continue cooperating with our oversight responsibility.