Photo: US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Michael McCaul: Afghanistan Withdrawal Will Be a Stain for Generations

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, says that the “deadly and chaotic” withdrawal from Afghanistan will remain a stain on American foreign policy for generations.

In his opening statements at the committee’s hearing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday, May 23, Mr. McCaul said that the Biden administration projected weakness on the world stage following the “shameful” withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“Shortly after the withdrawal, we saw the satellite imagery of the Russian federation amassing troops on the Ukrainian border,” the US congressman said. “Weakness invites aggression and our adversaries see that.”

“It all began with the fall of Afghanistan,” he emphasized.

The U.S. and NATO troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 led to the swift collapse of the republic government and military—entities that the U.S. and its allies had supported for nearly two decades—ultimately facilitating the Taliban’s return to power.

During the military withdrawal, a suicide bombing at Kabul Airport killed 13 U.S. service members and 170 Afghan civilians. The attack was later claimed by the local branch of Islamic State, IS-KP.

Since then, Chairman McCaul and his committee have repeatedly criticized the Biden administration’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, describing it as a “mistake of epic proportions” and accusing the administration of failing to have a contingency plan in place.

US lawmakers argue that contrary to claims by the Biden administration, the Taliban continue to repress women and girls, maintain ties with terrorist groups, and misuse US-provided humanitarian funds.

On the second anniversary of the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, US Senator Lindsey Graham labeled the Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal as “one of the most ill-conceived, catastrophic, and dishonorable” decisions in the history of American foreign policy.

Senator Graham said that the withdrawal led to the Taliban’s rule, resulting in the repression of women and girls, and Afghanistan once again seen as a launching pad for attacks against US interests by radical Islamists.

Moreover, the US senator pointed out that the withdrawal sent a “signal of weakness” to nations like Russia, China, and Iran, resulting in significant destabilization. Graham emphasized, “This was all so unnecessary and avoidable.”

However, the Biden administration has thus far defended its decision as “the right thing to do.” Previously, the US Secretary of State characterized the withdrawal as “an incredibly difficult” decision, yet also the correct one.

“For the first time in 20 years, we don’t have another generation of young Americans going to fight and die in Afghanistan,” Blinken stated.

During his remarks, Chairman McCaul also criticized the Biden administration for its handling of the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans who had worked with the US government and companies in Afghanistan.

“Despite the President’s promise to get everyone out, we now know over 1,000 Americans and almost 200,000 Afghan partners were left behind,” he said.

Since the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan, thousands of Afghan citizens, primarily those who worked with the US government, find themselves in a state of uncertainty. They are unemployed, fearing reprisals from the Taliban, and awaiting US visas.

A report by the Associated Press (AP) last year revealed that there were approximately 150,000 applicants for the SIV visa, excluding their family members. Furthermore, the report indicated that there are 27,400 applicants who have applied for P1 and P2 refugee protection status.