Two Years Later, No Accountability

On August 15th, 2021, Kabul fell to the Taliban following the Biden administration’s near-total withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Two years ago, the world watched as our commander in chief, Joe Biden presided over some of the most tragic and deadly policy decisions in American history. Yet in the years since that fateful withdrawal, not one person has been held accountable for the reckless decisions that claimed innocent lives and forever tarnished our position on the world stage.

While there is room for debate about the timing and necessity of a complete U.S. withdrawal, there can be no doubt that the way in which the Biden administration executed the withdrawal was reckless – directly leading to the loss of 13 brave U.S. service members and countless innocent people.

The American withdrawal from Kabul was a complete and utter disaster brought on by systemic failures from the top down across multiple agencies. However, it’s not enough to say this was a disaster and move on. Lives were lost, our global reputation was shattered, and the Biden administration’s legacy will forever be defined by the disastrous withdrawal.

One motto of our military is to ‘leave no man behind.’ There is no greater tragedy than leaving American troops and trusted allies in harm’s way before the mission is complete. And that is exactly what Joe Biden did. He said abandoned our Armed Forces’ sacred creed and turned his back on prior commitments to evacuate anyone wanting to leave Afghanistan. Biden said whoever needed help would get it. We knew that wasn’t true. 

For weeks, our government told American citizens in the country and our Afghan allies, including interpreters who served as a lifeline for our military, that they could come to the United States on Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) or go to Kabul, where they would be safely evacuated, only to be abandoned by this administration.

In the past two years, multiple reports have been published regarding the Biden administration’s mishandling of the withdrawal on every level.

Most recently, a report from the U.S. Department of State released this past June noted the Biden administration’s “insufficient senior-level consideration of worst-case scenarios and how quickly those might follow” and lack of clarity as to who had the lead on preparations for a complete evacuation of the country. 

Despite these findings, not a single person has been held accountable. The American people, and our Gold Star Families deserve better.

To Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and to our commander in chief – we cannot learn from this catastrophic failure if no individual or agency takes responsibility.

This Congress, I’ve cosponsored a bipartisan bill to provide support for Afghan nationals who directly aided the United States’ mission in Afghanistan, including by allowing Afghan allies who fought alongside our troops, such as Afghan special forces, to obtain special immigrant status. In the Senate Armed Services Committee, my Republican colleagues and I continue to stress the need for transparency and oversight over the Afghanistan disaster. We will continue to do so until we hear from the Biden administration.

History will never forget the Biden administration’s handling of this tragedy – during, before, and after. The blood remains on Joe Biden’s hands. True accountability is the only way to right this wrong and prevent a future tragedy of this magnitude from ever happening again.