Thousands of Americans were left in Afghanistan after the Biden Administration’s botched withdrawal last summer, according to a stunning new report released by the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Biden administration officials claimed that number of Americans left behind was only 100-150.
According to the report, published by Foreign Relations ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Biden Administration “did not hold a senior-level interagency meeting to discuss an evacuation or formally task the State Department (State) to contact at risk populations, including Americans, until August 14, just hours before Kabul fell.”
The report reveals that State Department officials believed that on August 17, at the height of the evacuation efforts, between 10,000 and 15,000 Americans were still in Afghanistan.
In the next two weeks, only 6,000 Americans were able to escape the country ahead of the Taliban takeover, leaving as many as 9,000 Americans behind. Yet in testimony in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken claimed that “approximately 100-150 remained in Afghanistan who still wished to depart.”
The report found that the Biden Administration:
• Failed to do any contingency planning for worst-case scenarios.
• Ignored intelligence reports about the risk of an imminent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
• Disregarded dissent cables from Foreign Service Officers on the front lines.
• Abandoned Bagram Air Base based on arbitrary troop caps and political considerations, hampering the evacuations and the reinserted troops.
• Failed to take significant steps to improve the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program despite clear evidence that the program was flawed.
As a result, thousands of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents were left behind, the report says.
Additionally, tens of thousands of our Afghan partners were left behind, destroying America’s credibility and ability to recruit partners in the future.
“The botched withdrawal damaged U.S. credibility with our allies,” the report concludes.
Biden last year bragged that his regime “completed one of the biggest airlifts in history with more than 120,000 people evacuated to safety.” Biden claimed they had achieved “more than double what most experts thought was possible.”
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those people were unvetted Afghans, not Americans or Afghan SIV holders.
That didn’t stop Biden from claiming: “The bottom line: 90 percent of Americans in Afghanistan who wanted to leave were able to leave.”
Risch (R-ID) shared the report on Twitter:
“While there’s disagreement over the policy to leave #Afghanistan, Americans share outrage over how the admin. withdrew, & what that failure has done to America’s reputation. This morning I released a report that details what went wrong & why.”
While there's disagreement over the policy to leave #Afghanistan, Americans share outrage over how the admin. withdrew, & what that failure has done to America’s reputation. This morning I released a report that details what went wrong & why.
— Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member (@SenateForeign) February 3, 2022
“Once again, those of us living through this were right – and honest – from the start, while those w power lied & lied & lied,” tweeted former war correspondent Lara Logan.
Once again, those of us living through this were right – and honest – from the start, while those w power lied & lied & lied.
— Lara Logan (@laralogan) February 4, 2022