Tommy Tuberville wants answers about Afghanistan withdrawal

In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, families begin to board a U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (Sgt. Samuel Ruiz/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville joined Senator Rick Scott and five Republican colleagues – Senators Bill Cassidy, Kevin Cramer, Thom Tillis, Mike Braun, Josh Hawley, and John Hoeven in introducing legislation to establish a bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to demand answers from the Biden administration to questions surrounding the deadly withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in 2021.

“President [Joe] Biden wants the country to forget about his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan that cost 13 American lives and squandered two decades of American blood and treasure,” Tuberville said in a press release. “There is no way I am going to let that happen. To date, not a single military or federal official has been held accountable. We need a committee to finally deliver the answers the American people, our allies, and veterans of Afghanistan deserve.”

Sen. Scott called the withdrawal “careless.”

“President Biden’s misguided and dangerous decisions in his botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan led to the United States’ most stunning, unforced, and humiliating defeat in decades,” Sen. Scott said. “Due to President Biden’s carelessness and failed leadership, 13 U.S. service members were lost, billions of dollars of U.S. military equipment were left for the Taliban, hundreds of American citizens were stranded behind enemy lines, and Afghanistan has been returned to the Taliban and now rests in the hands of the same terrorist-coddling extremists who ruled it on September 11, 2001. The world is now a more dangerous place and the American people are rightfully demanding answers. For over a year, I have called for a bipartisan and bicameral investigation into the Biden administration’s failed withdrawal of American forces and my calls have been met with silence. That’s why today, I am reintroducing my bill to establish a bipartisan and bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan to conduct a full investigation and compile a joint report on the United States’ tragically failed withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s time to put partisan politics aside and demand accountability.”

This joint select committee would follow the precedent set in the aftermath of the Iran-Contra affair. Since the withdrawal, Senator Scott has been calling on Congress to launch a bicameral, bipartisan investigation.

“Not long ago, we saw Afghanistan fall and 20 years of work collapse with it. 13 U.S. service members were lost in President Biden’s botched withdrawal,” Sen. Cassidy said. “The country deserves answers.”

“The botched withdrawal from Afghanistan cost 13 service members their lives and stranded hundreds of Americans with no way out and left vulnerable to the Taliban,” Sen Cramer said. “A bipartisan, comprehensive investigation into this event strengthens our national security strategy and further ensures the safety of all Americans. The American people deserve to know what happened in Afghanistan so we can prevent similar failures in the future.”

“When the Biden Administration disastrously withdrew out of Afghanistan, they left thousands of our Afghan allies behind and severely damaged U.S. credibility on the world stage,” Sen. Tillis said. “Nearly a year and a half later, the American people, especially our brave veterans of the War in Afghanistan, are still owed answers. I am proud to join my colleagues in establishing this bipartisan committee to investigate this colossal failure.”

“There has been no accountability for President Biden’s calamitous withdrawal from Afghanistan which resulted in the tragic death of 13 U.S. service members,” Sen. Braun said. “The American people deserve answers and transparency which is why I am joining my colleagues in calling for a Joint Select Committee to investigate the Afghanistan withdrawal.”

“We continue pressing for answers and accountability from the Biden administration for their failed withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan,” Hoeven said. “This bipartisan, bicameral Joint Select Committee on Afghanistan would focus on the outstanding issues and concerns that need to be addressed, while outlining our commitment to rescue those left behind, defend the United States’ national security interests and preserve our credibility to the rest of the world.”

Donald Trump had pledged to withdraw from Afghanistan when he entered the White House in 2017 but was persuaded not only to stay but to add several thousand U.S. troops and escalate attacks on the Taliban. In 2019, the Trump administration began looking for a deal with the Taliban, and in February 2020, the two sides signed an agreement that called for a complete U.S. withdrawal by May 2021. In exchange, the Taliban made a number of promises, including a pledge not to attack U.S. troops.

Biden weighed advice from members of his national security team who argued for retaining the 2,500 troops who were in Afghanistan by the time he took office in January. But in mid-April, he announced his decision to fully withdraw and set September as a deadline for getting out.

Biden argued that he had to choose between sticking to a previously negotiated agreement to withdraw U.S. troops this year or sending thousands more service members back into Afghanistan to fight a “third decade” of war.

To this point, not a single military or Biden administration official has been held accountable for the military pullout. The War in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2021 was the longest war in American history.

Sen. Tuberville is in his first term representing Alabama in the United States Senate.

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