Oversight GOP eyes records on Afghanistan withdrawal

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  • Joe Biden
    Joe Biden
    46th and current president of the United States
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) gives an opening statement during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 to discuss combating ransomware attacks.
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) gives an opening statement during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 to discuss combating ransomware attacks.


House Oversight Committee Republicans are asking the Biden administration to preserve a suite of documents related to the Afghanistan withdrawal.

In a letter to the White House, Pentagon and State Department, GOP members of the committee indicated an interest in a variety of issues stemming from the withdrawal, from American citizens and residents left behind in the evacuation to the U.S. military equipment now in the hands of the Taliban.

"It is Congress' duty to review the decisions that led to this national security and humanitarian crisis. The American people deserve to know how the Biden Administration planned for and executed the withdrawal from Afghanistan, as well as the chaotic evacuations after the Taliban took control of Kabul," ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.) wrote in the letter to President Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The U.S. government already has to follow record preservation requirements laid out by law, which obligate the government to retain most documents. The letter makes a request to ensure that federal contractors and consultants likewise preserve records.

But the request more broadly signals continuing Republican interest in Afghanistan and the potential for wide ranging investigations if the GOP wins back the House majority next November.

Biden continued a withdrawal from Afghanistan first negotiated under the Trump administration. The chaotic process ended with the U.S. evacuating nearly 130,000 people from the country, but leaving behind many allies who assisted in the 20-year American involvement in Afghanistan.

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