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Washington, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul delivered the following remarks at a hearing with President Biden’s top generals during his administration’s disastrous 2021 Afghanistan withdrawal. During his remarks, Chairman McCaul underscored the consequences of the Biden administration’s failure to plan, including widespread reprisal killings and the murder of 13 American servicemembers. 




– Remarks as delivered –


On April 14th 2021, President Biden announced the United States would unilaterally withdraw its military forces from Afghanistan.

For months before that announcement, the intelligence community and his senior military advisors – including both gentlemen testifying here today – issued dire warnings about the withdrawal’s consequences.

After the announcement I, along with other Republican and Democrat Members of Congress, urged the president to prepare for the withdrawal’s inevitable fallout.

Unfortunately, those warnings were ignored.

As the withdrawal date neared, the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated as the Taliban gained significant ground across the country.

Yet the Biden administration’s failure to plan for their withdrawal – threatening the safety and security of U.S. personnel still in the country.

As a result, in July of 2021, 23 State Department employees in Kabul sent a [Dissent Channel Cable] to Secretary Blinken warning of their grave concerns for Afghanistan’s stability and their own safety.

Yet nothing was done.

Instead, our investigation uncovered the White House refused to listen to warnings about the situation on the ground.

Disturbingly, we have uncovered that State Department leadership prohibited – prohibited – its employees from uttering the word “NEO” – shorthand for an emergency evacuation – until as late as August 2021.

Too little too late.

Additionally, this committee learned that the State Department did not even request an emergency evacuation until after Kabul was surrounded by the Taliban.

As a result, the airport was not secured until August 17th, two days after Kabul fell.

As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

And fail they did.

The next two weeks created international outrage and humiliation for the United States.

People all over the world watched as babies were flung over barbed wire fence[s] by mothers without hope, desperate Afghans fell to their deaths from airplanes, and hordes of people surrounded the airport as they tried to flee for their lives.

The damage to our reputation and our credibility – the United States’ credibility – around the world, that damage will last for generations.

Our servicemembers were forced to watch as American citizens and Afghan allies were beaten and murdered outside the gates of the airport.

These brave Americans were told to standby as terrorists brutalized innocent civilians.

And then, on the morning of August 26th, we watched in horror as reports of a terrorist attack at Abbey Gate flooded the news.

13 U.S. servicemembers were murdered, with dozens more injured. 170 Afghans were killed, with countless injured as well.

Some of the Abbey Gate Gold Star family members are here today, and we honor you.We honor your sacrifice here today.

To the families here today and to the American people I say: I will not rest until I get to the bottom of this tragedy. You deserve answers. The American people deserve answers.

And I intend to deliver.  

When the last U.S. military plane left on August 30, 2021, more than 1,000 American citizens remained trapped in Afghanistan. As were tens of thousands of Afghan allies, who risked their lives serving beside our troops and diplomats.

Many if not most of those allies are still trapped, constantly in fear for their lives.

I want to thank both of our witnesses for being here today.

Despite current [Department of Defense] officials actively trying to limit your testimony, you have agreed to appear here voluntarily and I am grateful to you – both of you sirs – for your service to this country and this investigation.

I also want to thank the Abbey Gate Gold Star families for joining us here today.

And while the president has never publicly stated the names of your children, I will here today.

Their names are: Darin Hoover, Johanny Rosario, Nicole Gee, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Humberto Sanchez, David Espinoza, Jared Schmitz, Rylee McCollum, Dylan Merola, Kareem Nikoui, Maxton Soviak, and Ryan Knauss.

They will not be forgotten.