September 21, 2021
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today after the committee held a classified briefing on Afghanistan with Colin Kahl, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; Michael McCord, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) / Chief Financial Officer; and Rear Admiral Marc J. Miguez, Deputy Director for Operations, J3 Joint Staff:
“Today, the Armed Services Committee held the second briefing in our fact-finding mission to review what happened in Afghanistan after President Biden’s disastrous decision to withdraw. Now, more than ever, I’m certain we are going to require multiple open hearings in the coming weeks and months to get a complete picture.
“While I appreciate the information Secretary Kahl, Secretary McCord and Rear Admiral Miguez provided today, I’m left with more questions than answers. I’m glad Secretary Kahl is committed to testifying on this topic before the committee at an open hearing in the future. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle and I are demanding answers — and so are the American people, our service members and our allies and partners around the world.
“One area of real concern that I have is who we evacuated and who we left behind. We simply don’t have all the information we need. The Biden Administration claims we evacuated more than 120,000 people, but we’ve heard that as few as 20 percent of those were Americans or special immigrant visa holders. The math just doesn’t add up, and the numbers we’ve gotten so far from the administration have been more confusing than clarifying. We know American citizens, green card holders, and eligible partners were left behind because my colleagues in Congress and I are still trying to help get these people out of Afghanistan. Even one left behind is too many.
“I can’t stress enough how important next week’s hearings are going to be. When we hear from Secretary Austin, General Milley and General McKenzie, we need to understand what options and recommendations they made to White House, what they did with the information they received from General Miller, and whether an 'over-the-horizon' strategy can really defeat ISIS-K, Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organizations that are now resurging with the help of the Taliban. The Committee also needs to understand whether leaders in the Department of Defense questioned the President’s assumptions of going to zero troops when the Taliban was taking over districts in Afghanistan at a rapid and accelerating pace in May and June this year. We’ve got a lot of questions, and I hope we will get the answers the American people, the Congress, and most importantly, the troops and their families who served and sacrificed in Afghanistan, deserve.”