New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith (R-Manchester), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued the following statement today regarding the one-year anniversary of the tragic American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Today we mark one year since the Biden Administration’s disastrous and chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in which 13 American soldiers were killed and 9,000 Americans were abandoned in a treacherous, hostile condition.
“In the years’ time, the Biden Administration has yet to provide the truth—and or accountability—for how and why these tragic events came to pass.
“For instance, last year at a congressional hearing, I asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken why President Biden made misleading statements about the strength of the Afghan armed forces, and why in a July 2021 phone call to then-President Ghani, President Biden apparently encouraged Ghani to ‘whether it is true or not…project a different picture’ about the Taliban’s battlefield successes.
“To this day, I have no sufficient answers on an apparent attempt to mislead the public.
“A recent account issued by the House Foreign Affairs Committee Republicans, “A Strategic Failure”, finds that the Biden Administration ‘failed to plan’ for an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan, ‘consigning millions of Afghans and thousands of American citizens to unspeakable cruelty, violence, terrorism and egregious abuse of women and girls at the hands of the Taliban and ISIS.’
“But from the Biden administration, we still hear nothing. No explanation. No accountability.
“I have also called attention to the Administration’s failure to properly vet all the Afghan refugees brought into the country during the chaotic withdrawal last August, while leaving behind pre-vetted Afghan allies who assisted us in our fight against the Taliban. While we welcome all who are deserving to be here and who wish to contribute to our great nation as many immigrants have before them, we must ensure that we have a comprehensive vetting process in place.
“Indeed, on February 15, 2022, the Department of Defense Inspector General noted ‘U.S. agencies did not use all available data when vetting Afghan evacuees.’ This failure allowed some ‘50 Afghan personnel into the United States with information in DoD records that would indicate potentially significant security concerns,’ posing a direct threat to our United States’ homeland.
“Moreover, this disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan has embolden our adversaries in China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia as they look at the Biden Administration’s weak leadership and abandonment of Americans and allies overseas, debilitating our standing as global leaders and putting our national security at further risk.”