The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan was never going to be pretty, but it has been particularly chaotic and unorganized under President Joe Biden, and Republican lawmakers are demanding to know why.
Unfortunately, according to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) refused to allow House Republicans to ask military leaders about the ongoing withdrawal during a special briefing Monday, The Daily Wire reported.
The briefing Monday for members of Congress took place via a conference call involving Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
In a statement Monday, Rep. Stefanik, chair of the House GOP caucus and third-ranking member of House GOP leadership, alleged that Speaker Pelosi had blocked Republican legislators on the call from asking any questions of top members of Biden’s administration who are, theoretically, in charge of what is occurring right now in Afghanistan.
“On this morning’s bipartisan conference call regarding Afghanistan with Secretaries Austin, Blinken, and Chairman Milley, Authoritarian Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi blocked me and multiple Republican Members from asking questions and lied and said ‘there were no further questions in the queue,'” Stefanik said.
“I sit on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and represent the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, the most deployed US Army division since 9/11. I have led and participated in multiple bipartisan delegations to Afghanistan,” the congresswoman continued.
Stefanik then shared the questions she would have asked, if given the chance, which included how many Americans were left to be evacuated and when that would occur, the government’s current assessment of Taliban control of the weapons and equipment captured from the Afghan military, whether the U.S. had paid the Taliban to allow the evacuation to proceed, and if the funds in Afghanistan’s central bank would be protected.
“This Lame Duck Authoritarian Speaker of the House is shielding a feckless, weak, and failed Commander in Chief and his Administration. Nancy knows that this is Joe Biden’s Saigon,” the congresswoman added.
Afghanistan’s terror threat
Separately, Axios reported that those same leaders from the Biden administration participated in a conference call with a bipartisan group of senators Sunday, during which Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked if they would revise their prior assessment of the “medium” risk of the Taliban regaining control and turning Afghanistan into a haven for terrorist groups again.
Gen. Milley reportedly replied in the affirmative that, “Yes,” the timeline and threat assessment of Afghanistan as a terrorist haven would have to be updated.
That ties in with a separate statement from Rep. Stefanik Tuesday about a letter from her and other Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee to President Biden that demanded to know his “plans” for Afghanistan, particularly with regard to countering any terror threat that emerges from there.
“The crisis in Afghanistan has put President Biden’s weakness and failed leadership on full display for the world,” Stefanik said. “By failing to put a plan in place, he created the largest humanitarian and security failure in a generation. Now, I am demanding the President stop passing the buck, take responsibility for his actions, and send Congress a plan to ensure we can combat terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan. The world is watching.”