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A minority House Republican investigation discovered that 800 Americans have evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover, highlighting the ongoing effort to bring every American home.
The report, generated from data gathered by House Republicans and the State Department, indicates a steady pace of evacuation, with 479 reported American evacuations by Dec. 14, 2021, according to a previous GOP report from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The Biden administration had initially pledged to leave no U.S. citizen behind, saying, “We’re going to stay to get them all out” in the run-up to the end of the withdrawal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken later admitted that at least 100 Americans remained in the country after the final pull-out.
The subsequent reports have highlighted the magnitude of the problem that the administration continues to face as it tries to bring every American citizen home.
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A State Department spokesperson confirmed the number of post-withdrawal evacuees and added that at least 600 legal permanent residents have also been evacuated in that time, Politico reported.
The earlier Senate report harshly criticized the Biden administration for ignoring “numerous intelligence reports” about the potential for the Taliban to quickly take control of Kabul and for abandoning “tens of thousands of Afghan partners.”
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The new House report, which comes in at 118 pages, argued that “the choices made in the corridors of power in D.C. led to tragic yet avoidable outcomes: 13 dead service members, American lives still at great risk, increased threats to our homeland security, tarnished standing abroad for years to come, and emboldened enemies across the globe.”
A National Security Council spokesperson told Axios that the report was “riddled with inaccurate characterizations, cherry-picked information and false claims.”
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The House report notes that the Biden administration and the State Department refused to provide “the necessary information regarding America's unconditional withdrawal from Afghanistan,” preventing the minority committee from completing a “thorough investigation.”
“The Biden administration had largely wasted the four months since the president announced the full withdrawal, failing to adequately plan for the anticipated Taliban takeover,” the committee wrote.
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“The failure to anticipate a surge of refugees at the Kabul airport, often referred to as Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA), despite the military assessing Kabul to be at risk of falling to the Taliban, combined with an inadequate number of U.S. personnel initially deployed, created the powder keg that exploded with the chaotic scenes that reverberated around the world, including images of Afghans falling to their deaths,” the lawmakers wrote.
The lawmakers made clear the party's intent to subpoena documents from the State Department should Republicans take the majority in the midterm elections later this year.
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