Chaotic Afghan withdrawal: House committee chief summons State Dept officials

House committee chief

WASHINGTON: US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul has asked US State Department to comply with his subpoena for documents pertaining to the tumultuous 2021 American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Additionally, McCaul has asked for the presence of two senior State Department officials before the committee to conduct a transcribed interview.

In a letter addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, McCaul criticised the meager number of documents provided by the Department thus far, deeming it “unreasonable and unacceptable.”

Last month, McCaul had issued a subpoena to Secretary Blinken, demanding the submission of Afghanistan After-Action Review files to the committee by July 25. However, as of Thursday, only 16 documents have been turned over by the agency, according to McCaul.

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McCaul expressed his concerns, stating, “The Department’s anemic subpoena response suggests that it is either deliberately obstructing the Committee’s oversight, or that its document retention, location, and production procedures are astoundingly deficient. Neither is acceptable.”

Seeking further insight into the Department’s non-compliance, McCaul called upon Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Naz Durakoglu and Acting Legal Advisor Richard Visek to appear before the committee for a transcribed interview on or before August 21.

Earlier this year, McCaul had previously issued a subpoena to Blinken, requesting the release of the dissent channel cable authored by nearly two dozen U.S. Embassy employees in Kabul in July 2021. The cable highlighted concerns regarding the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. After the threat of holding Blinken in contempt of Congress, McCaul and Democrat Representative Greg Meeks were permitted to review the cable.

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