By Susan Crabtree
There’s a legal maxim, res ipsa loquitur, meaning the thing speaks for itself. Those who want to dismiss a GOP report on Afghanistan as partisan can’t dismiss the obvious reality that the withdrawal was botched. Res ipsa loquitur.
The frantic and deadly U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan was so disorganized that 1,450 children were evacuated without their parents, and senior leaders in Vice President Kamala Harris’ and first lady Jill Biden’s offices, as well as one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked private veteran groups for assistance evacuating certain people from the country.
In the waning days of the evacuation, more than 1,000 women and girls waited more than 24 hours on dozens of buses, desperately circling the Kabul airport and trying to avoid Taliban checkpoints. Many of them were told multiple times they were not allowed to enter the airport. Now, nearly a year since the Taliban took control of the country, fewer than one-third of them have managed to flee the country.
These are just some of the findings in a new report by Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee one year after the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital of Kabul, almost instantly rolling back more than two decades of U.S. and NATO military support and nation-building efforts.
More broadly, the report, which RealClearPolitics obtained late last week, asserts President Biden and top officials in his administration repeatedly – and perhaps intentionally – misled the American people when they said the fall of Kabul came as a surprise and there was no alternative other than depending on the Taliban for security in the Afghan capital as the U.S. military evacuated hastily.
The report asserts that the chaotic withdrawal that left more than 800 American citizens stranded in the country was completely avoidable if Biden and his national security team had listened to the warnings and advice of military leaders, U.S. diplomatic officials operating on the ground, and international allies.