Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee heard from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, and CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie on President Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Here are the top five takeaways from HASC Republicans on the hearing:
Because of the lack of planning by the Biden administration we now lack the ability to conduct over-the-horizon counter-terrorism:
- Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) pointed out that President Biden’s talk of “over-the-horizon capability is a farce.” Ranking Member Rogers noted that Congress needs to know “what capabilities we need, where they’ll be based, and how they’ll be used."
- Representative Michael Waltz (R-FL) pointed out that the lack of a base in or around Afghanistan and the lack of on-the-ground partners in the country makes over-the-horizon counter-terrorism near impossible.
- Representative Trent Kelly (R-MS) pointed out the clear lack of over-the-horizon capabilities as evidenced by the August 29th airstrike that tragically killed Afghan civilians.
President Biden misled the American people when he said he was not advised by his senior military advisors to keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan:
- In response to a question from Ranking Member Mike Rogers (R-AL) General McKenzie said, "My view was that we needed to maintain 2,500 [troops in Afghanistan] and we needed to work with our coalition partners."
President Biden left U.S. citizens and allies behind:
- Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) pointed out that President Biden broke his promise to the American people that the U.S. would stay until every American was out. In fact, he left U.S. citizens behind Taliban lines and we still can’t get answers on how many Americans are left in Afghanistan.
Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations will soon pose a serious threat to the United States:
- In response to a question from Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) General Milley said, "I think the Taliban sitting in Kabul significantly emboldens the radical jihadi movement globally."
- In response to a question from Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) General Milley told the House Armed Services Committee that al-Qaeda or ISIS could reconstitute in Afghanistan in as soon as 6 months.
The State Department made the call to delay evacuating civilians and SIV’s:
- Secretary Austin informed the House Armed Services Committee, “On the issue of why we didn't bring out civilians and SIV's sooner... the call on how to do that and when to do it is really a State Department call.”