The House Republicans' upcoming report on the Biden administration's handling of last year's Afghanistan withdrawal with the U.S. military may be lengthy, says Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., but it's also far from complete.
"One year later, and we still don't have any answers. It's very frustrating dealing with this administration," Comer told Newsmax Monday evening, while appearing on "Spicer & Co." with hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the Taliban's initial intervention into Afghanistan, and Comer says that U.S. officials have been stonewalling GOP leaders on basic questions, such as:
- How many American citizens remain in Afghanistan?
- How much functional military equipment was left with the Taliban?
- Did the Taliban ever sell the left-behind military equipment to a foreign adversary?
- What was the threat assessment of the Kabul airport, prior to an explosion killing 13 American soldiers?
"It's unfortunate that we'll be [going after specific people]" upon taking control of the House chamber in January, said Comer, alluding to Republicans potentially prevailing over Democrats in the November midterm elections.
"Everyone's hearts were probably in the right place, but there were a lot of mistakes made. There were lives lost, and to this day, there are billions and billions of American taxpayer dollars being wasted" on this effort, says Comer.
One strategic error might have involved the Biden administration reportedly rejecting the Taliban's offer from last summer, seemingly granting Americans interim control of the Kabul airport — in Afghanistan's capital city — until the U.S. military's evacuation had been completed.
"Huge mistake. ... One of the biggest mistakes in our military history; and yet, we don't know the answer to that question," of who authorized the rejection, says Comer. "And the Biden administration has no intention of letting anyone know."
But come 2023, Comer says, "we're going to get to bottom of this. ... We can never forget this happened. This can't go without getting answers to the American people," while adding that White House and military officials will be held accountable someday.
At the time of last year's withdrawal, the State Department reportedly had a maximum of only 36 American officials on the ground to supervise the mission. "Very concerning. ... That's on the State Department," says Comer, who's up for reelection this November. "They grossly underestimated how many people were over there."
From Comer's perspective, the Biden administration underestimated the gravity of the Afghanistan withdrawal; and now, citing the words of Pentagon spokesperson Ned Price — who claims America's reputation abroad is stronger than 12 months ago — the Kentucky Republican says that Price's assessment exaggerates the reality.
"Our foreign policy under the Biden administration has been a debacle," says Comer. "It started with Afghanistan, and it's only gotten worse with China and Taiwan."
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