Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Previewing First GOP-Led House Hearing on Afghan Withdrawal: 'Stunning failure of leadership'; 'We Were Ignored': Veterans and Troops Detail Horrors of Afghanistan Evacuation as House Investigation Begins; US Left Behind More than $7B of Military Equipment

Previewing first GOP-led House hearing on Afghan withdrawal: 'Stunning failure of leadership':
A top House Republican condemned President Joe Biden for a “stunning failure of leadership” ahead of a House committee's first public hearing about the U.S. military's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee , led by Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), is holding a hearing, "During and After the Fall of Kabul: Examining the Administration’s Emergency Evacuation from Afghanistan ," on Wednesday. Four witnesses are expected to testify in the hearing, all of whom were involved in the emergency evacuation efforts where the U.S. military, along with a couple of allies, evacuated more than 120,000 Afghans who were at risk under the Taliban regime.
“What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic breakdown of the federal government at every level — and a stunning failure of leadership by the Biden administration," McCaul said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. "As a result, the world watched heartbreaking scenes unfold in and around the Kabul airport. I want every gold and blue star family member, and every veteran out there who watch this hearing to know: I will not rest until we determine how this happened — and hold those accountable responsible."
Three of the witnesses testifying in front of the committee are Francis Hoang, retired Lt. Col. Scott Mann, and Peter Lucier, all of whom were parts of different organizations that helped get at-risk Afghans out. Aidan Gunderson, a former Army combat medic who was in Hamid Karzai International Airport during the chaotic 2021 evacuation, is also appearing before the committee. --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
'We Were Ignored': Veterans and Troops Detail Horrors of Afghanistan Evacuation as House Investigation Begins:
Service members and veterans who helped evacuate Afghans in August 2021 testified in harrowing detail about their experiences Wednesday during the first hearing of the GOP-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee's investigation into the Biden administration's chaotic exit from America's longest war.
Among the witnesses was Sgt. Tyler Vargas-Andrews, a still-serving Marine Corps sniper, who previously told The Washington Post he believes he identified the suicide bomber who killed 13 U.S. troops outside the Kabul airport but was denied approval to shoot him before the attack. On Wednesday, Vargas-Andrews, fighting to talk through tears, recounted the attack, which left him with an amputated leg and arm.
"Plain and simple, we were ignored," Vargas-Andrews said about his and others' efforts to get approval to shoot the person they suspected to be the suicide bomber. "My body was overwhelmed from the trauma of the blast. My abdomen had been ripped open. Every inch of my exposed body except for my face took ball bearings and shrapnel."
Also testifying Wednesday was Aidan Gunderson, a former Army specialist who served as a medic deployed to the Hamid Karzai International Airport during the Afghanistan withdrawal. He described seeing "blood-saturated, dusty clothing and head scarves smolder[ing]" in the middle of the runway that "covered the dead bodies" of Afghans who fell from a U.S. C-17 Globemaster III after clinging to the landing gear while it was taking off.
After the suicide bombing on Aug. 26, 2021, Gunderson recalled that "an injured Marine with bloodsoaked pants squeeze my hand as tightly as he could and looked into my eyes, yelling, 'I don't want to die.'" --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories:

+++++US left behind more than $7 billion of military equipment in Taliban-run Afghanistan+++++

McCaul Threatens Subpoena if State Continues Withholding Documents on Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal

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