Republicans Call for Formal Pentagon Investigation Into Bungled Afghanistan Withdrawal

Biden administration left Americans trapped in Kabul and American-made weapons in Taliban hands

Crowds outside the Kabul airport in Aug. 2020 / Reuters
August 24, 2021

Republicans are calling on the Pentagon's inspector general to launch a formal investigation into the Biden administration's bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan, including its decision to abandon scores of American-made weapons that are now in the Taliban's possession.

Rep. Carlos Giménez (R., Fla.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, is spearheading legislation that would direct the Defense Department's inspector general to determine how the Biden administration's pullout from Afghanistan endangered scores of American citizens who are trapped in Taliban-controlled Kabul and begging for rescue by U.S. forces.

Giménez's bill is the first in what is likely to be a series of Republican efforts to investigate the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. The administration has faced criticism at home and abroad over its failure to plan for an immediate Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. The administration, including the Pentagon and State Department, is struggling with its evacuation effort and has avoided answering questions about whether it had a plan to deal with the Taliban's return to power. It is likely that Democrats will be forced to go along with these investigations, even as party leaders defend the Biden administration's decisions.

Giménez told the Washington Free Beacon that Congress must begin investigating the ongoing disaster, particularly given the administration's refusal to answer questions.

Biden and his senior advisers have "made categorically false statements to the American people, including lies that the American embassy in Kabul was secured and prepared for the withdrawal, that there are no al Qaeda militants in Afghanistan, that America's allies are not questioning the president's judgments, and even changed transcripts and readouts with our most important allies," Giménez said.

"These falsehoods," Giménez continued, "are deliberately deceptive to the American people with both the mainstream press and the president's own senior national security officials contradicting these claims. If the president of the United States is not going to be straight with the American people while American lives are being left in Afghanistan at the mercy of the Taliban, then Congress has both the moral and constitutional obligation to demand accountability of any and all Biden administration officials who deliberately put American lives at risk."

Giménez's bill would direct the Pentagon inspector general to provide Congress with a full accounting of the Biden administration's behind-the-scenes decision-making. This accounting would include an audit of "the reasons why United States Humvees, helicopters, artillery, and drones ended up in the hands of the Taliban," according to the bill.

Since the United States pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban has seized scores of American-made weapons, which helped them take control of the country and trample the U.S.-trained Afghan National Army.

The legislation also would force the Defense Department to provide information on whether "Afghan forces in possession of United States equipment entered Iran," which seeks to replace the United States as a powerbroker in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon inspector general's report would be issued to Congress within three months and also examine the effectiveness of the Biden administration's ongoing evacuation of Americans from Kabul, according to the bill.