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Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul delivered remarks at the Subcommittee on Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia’s hearing entitled, “Examining the Biden Administration’s Afghanistan Policy Since the U.S. Withdrawal: Part II.” Following his remarks, Chairman McCaul questioned witnesses on the Biden administration’s disastrous evacuation from Afghanistan, State Department’s stonewalling of the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan (SIGAR), and the Taliban’s theft and diversion of critical U.S.-funded humanitarian aid.


Watch his full remarks here.


Watch his questioning here.


– Remarks as Delivered –

Following the U.S. withdrawal, Afghanistan is no better off today than when the United States first entered.

After 20 years of blood and treasure, any progress made has been erased.

This administration’s deadly and chaotic withdrawal was ill conceived from the very start. There were no plans to ensure enduring peace or to support the Afghan people.

Now, under the administration’s failed policies, Afghanistan continues to deteriorate every day.

The Taliban are terrorists, though they want us to take them off the list. Afghanistan continues to deteriorate every day. And contrary to what many in this administration think, there are no “moderate” Taliban members.

It appears that the administration believes that by befriending the Taliban, they can influence their behavior.

Yet the Taliban’s own action has proven they cannot.

Today, Afghan women and girls are worse off than at any point since the United States’ withdrawal. In fact, worse. A 20 year old, who never lived under Sharia law, [is] now under that dark cloud. That dark veil. 

They are barred from public places and are not allowed to travel outside of their homes without a male chaperone.

And Afghanistan is the only country in the world where girls are banned from receiving an education above the sixth grade level.

The Taliban are funding, equipping, and providing safe haven to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda. The seven billion dollars of military equipment left behind during the withdrawal is sold by the Taliban and used by terror groups and other American adversaries around the world.

Mr. Zawahiri, the then-leader of al-Qaeda, who was living in downtown Kabul under the protection of the leader of the Haqqani network [and] who is also the Taliban’s Minister of the Interior, in other words, the [Taliban’s] “Minister of Security” is the Haqqani Network leader who harbored the number two deputy to Osama bin Laden. You can’t make this up. 

The connection is real. You can’t change the truth. Facts are stubborn thing. 

Currently at least [six] Americans are held captive by the Taliban. There are more Americans detained by the Taliban right now than at any point in the last two years.

One of those Americans is Ryan Corbett, whose wife Anna testified before this committee last November.

He has been captive in Afghanistan since August 2022.

Right now, the Taliban is hunting down our Afghan allies, partners, using our biometrics door-to-door, checking their fingerprints. They torture them, they kill them with the same weapons this administration left behind for their use to murder.

And now, the Taliban are benefiting more than ever from U.S. taxpayer dollars, which they steal from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to enrich their fighters and solidify their power.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, more commonly known as SIGAR, testified to the committee in November of last year that the Taliban is stealing and benefiting from humanitarian aid.

That they are demanding payoffs from NGOs.

They will not hire women.

Diverting aid to favorable beneficiaries—such as their own fighters. They are creating fake NGOs in order to receive humanitarian aid. They are embedding Taliban intelligence officials within U.N. agencies.

Obviously, by failing to treat the Taliban as the threat they are, this administration has not [discouraged] their malign activity. Instead, they’ve emboldened them.

For example, this administration has repeatedly voted at the U.N. to grant travel-ban waivers to sanctioned Taliban members.

All the while, the administration is hiding from accountability.

SIGAR also testified this State Department is the least cooperative they have ever engaged with since the establishment of their office in 2008. That’s quite a statement.

According to SIGAR, the State Department has failed to respond to at least 30 outstanding requests for information. Some of these have been pending for over a year.

That is simply unacceptable.

It is time for the administration to re-evaluate their policy priorities, which have clearly achieved so little in Afghanistan.

They need to focus on developing a strategy that will ensure the U.S. is not supporting the Taliban, but rather innocent Afghans.

Anything less, signals a failure of American leadership. We want to help the people of Afghanistan—half of them are at the poverty level, starving, but we don’t want to fund the Taliban, either. 

It’s the job of this committee to provide the oversight to ensure—and SIGAR as well—to ensure this does not happen in the future.

And let me just say, with respect to Chairman’s words, the saddest thing is the women left behind under the veil and dark cloud of Sharia law, but also, the fact that: Guess who’s in Afghanistan today? China. 

They’re exploiting the rare earth minerals, and I wouldn’t be surprised if—one day—we woke up and guess who is going to take over Bagram Air Base, that was the crown jewel of our ISR capability for that region, that we turned over to the Taliban? I wouldn’t be surprised if one day we woke up, Mr. Chairman, and we find the [Chinese Communist Party] operating that precious jewel that we had in Bagram Air Base.