A top House Republican has officially launched a probe into the Biden administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting a wide array of information on the matter.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who served as its ranking member previously, said the Biden administration has so far refused to hand over documents but that he is now formally requesting compliance as chair of the panel.
“It is absurd and disgraceful that the Biden administration has repeatedly denied our longstanding oversight requests and continues to withhold information related to the withdrawal,” McCaul said in a statement. “In the event of continued noncompliance, the Committee will use the authorities available to it to enforce these requests as necessary, including through a compulsory process.”
McCaul is seeking intelligence assessments, internal agency documents and communications with the Taliban and Afghan government, among a long list of other inquiries in the letter Thursday.
He requested the information from the Biden administration by Jan. 26.
The Hill has reached out to the State Department for comment.
Republicans have long hinted at the Afghanistan investigation, one of a number of probes the party planned to launch after seizing the House in the November midterm elections.
In October, McCaul demanded the State Department preserve records related to the U.S. troop pullout from Afghanistan, promising he would investigate messy evacuations, the quick Taliban takeover of Kabul and the death of 13 American troops in a terrorist attack.
The chaos surrounding the Afghanistan withdrawal was the focus of bipartisan scrutiny in 2021 as the U.S. exit was highly publicized, with photos and videos showing refugees scrambling to leave the country.
Last year, Republicans on the Foreign Affairs Committee released a report as minority members of the panel slamming the White House for sloppy planning, understaffing at Afghanistan’s largest airport and failing to anticipate the wave of refugees.
The White House responded that the report was “riddled” with inaccuracies.
Republicans are also expected to issue subpoenas to compel U.S. officials to sit for depositions in the probe led by McCaul.
McCaul on Thursday said he takes the obligation of investigating the withdrawal “very seriously” and will “pursue this investigation until all our questions are answered and all parties responsible are held accountable.”
“We owe this to the American people, especially our service members and veterans,” the lawmaker said in his statement.