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Rep. Kim Criticizes Biden Administration’s Broken Promise Of Evacuating All Americans From Afghanistan Following Deadly Withdrawal

Kim expressed concern about the State Department’s contingency planning and ability to ensure that no citizens would be left behind by the administration’s self-imposed deadline for the operation in August 2021.

Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) criticized the Biden administration in March for breaking its promise to evacuate every U.S. citizen from Afghanistan following the infamous deadly withdrawal more than three years ago that left an unknown number of Americans still residing in the Taliban-controlled country.

“Following the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden stated that he owes no apologies for how the withdrawal was conducted,” Kim said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on March 19. “I disagree,” she added. “To this date, we’re still unclear on how many Americans were left behind in Afghanistan and remained there, not to mention Afghan allies that helped our service members with translation services and intelligence gathering.”

Kim, who is representing California’s 40th district and is up for reelection in November for a third term, expressed concern about the State Department’s contingency planning and ability to ensure that no citizens would be left behind by the administration’s self-imposed deadline for the operation in August 2021.

“That could have been prevented if the withdrawal was not carried away,” she said, “That was dismissive of advice coming from the [Department of Defense] top leadership.”

Biden officials have faced scrutiny for its handling of exiting Afghanistan after a suicide bomb attack killed 13 U.S. service members and wounded 20 others who were helping with evacuations at Hamid Karzai International Airport. 

More than 1,000 American citizens remained trapped in Afghanistan when the last U.S. military plane left on August 30, 2021, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul said.

Days after the last U.S. military plane left, Biden spoke to Americans from the White House, reportedly defending the withdrawal for evacuating at least 124,000 Americans and Afghan “friends and allies” since the mission had begun. 

Biden then said during an ABC News interview just a few days after the Taliban takeover of Kabul that the U.S. would stay until every American citizen evacuated as the two-decade-long war effectively ended. 

Retired generals U.S. Central Command Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Gen. Mark Milley, who oversaw the Department of Defense side of the evacuation, discussed the challenges of withdrawing from Afghanistan and emphasized the difficulty of executing a perfect evacuation.

McKenzie admitted concern about the State Department’s evacuation planning as intelligence reporting indicated escalation between U.S. troops and Taliban fighters could break out if Biden officials failed to meet their deadline.

“I never thought we’d get everybody out,” McKenzie said. “You’re never going to obtain perfection there, but you would want to get that number as small as possible. I knew there would be people left behind — we weren’t going to be able to get everybody out — but you want to get as close to zero as you can.”

U.S. military officials initially estimated about 150,000 in 2020 when the Trump administration first negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the Taliban.  

But Milley said Biden’s State Department “never clarified” how many American citizens were in Afghanistan and that military forces could not remain overseas without the stationing of tens of thousands of troops. 

“We cannot be bouncing around a country that’s at war and trying to look for this person and that person,” Milley said. “It’s just not realistic. It’s not a feasible course of action,” adding he does “understand the human desire.” 

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