Republican lawmakers brought forth a bill today, intending to seek accountability from the Biden administration for the botched evacuation that claimed the lives of 13 service members and nearly 200 Afghan citizens. Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin led Republican attempts to convene Congress prior to its scheduled September 20th session. While the bill was unsurprisingly blocked in the House today, it represents growing resolve to demand answers.
The “Afghanistan Withdrawal Oversight and Liability Act” demands the President “provide transparency regarding critical aspects of the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan, to prevent United States support to the Taliban, and for other purposes.” General Frank McKenzie of U.S. Central Command referred to the Taliban as “our generous host nation” yet admitted that “we did not get everyone out that we wanted to get out.” The administration and the State Department have yet to release exact numbers of Americans still behind enemy lines and have failed to thus far detail plans to extract remaining citizens.
In a Sunday interview with MSNBC’s Ed O’Keefe, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed the United States’ end to a permanent embassy presence in Afghanistan, yet referred to diplomatic methods “to be able to continue to process out these applicants.” He further expressed the United States’ dependence on the Taliban to honor “its commitments with respect to safe passage, how it deals with the treatment of women, how it deals with international commitments not to allow Afghanistan to become a base for terrorism in the rest of the world.”
That the Taliban is expected to honor any “commitments” represents willful ignorance or delusion on the part of the administration. Regarding its “treatment of women,” news emerging from Afghanistan over the last two weeks have included reports of forced marriages of Afghan women to Taliban fighters. Diplomatic means to ensure the safe exit of any remaining Americans in country are unlikely, given Taliban efforts to prevent Americans from reaching the Kabul airport prior to the completed withdrawal. The probability that the Taliban will honor international law of any kind is fanciful, and recently emerging footage of Taliban fighters hanging men by the throat from helicopters proves it.