Biden Admin. 'Left Behind Hundreds, Possibly Thousands' of Americans in Afghanistan: Report

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Feb 08, 2022
Biden Admin. 'Left Behind Hundreds, Possibly Thousands' of Americans in Afghanistan: Report

The Biden administration ignored key intelligence reports and abandoned “hundreds, possibly thousands” of American citizens during its much-criticized withdrawal from Afghanistan last year, according to a new report from a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The 64-page report from Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the ranking minority member of the committee, concludes that the senior leadership of the Biden Administration “failed to effectively plan, coordinate, and execute an orderly withdrawal and evacuation,” leading to needless deaths. For example, the National Security Council did not conduct its first senior meeting “to discuss the withdrawal” until Aug. 14 at 3:30 p.m. – “just hours before Kabul fell,” the report says.

“While there is substantial disagreement about the policy to leave Afghanistan, Americans share outrage over how the United States withdrew last August, and what that failure has done to America’s standing in the world,” Risch said. “My report describes how the Biden Administration’s failure of duty allowed for a quick Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and a botched withdrawal that left hundreds of Americans and tens of thousands of Afghan partners behind.”

According to the report, the Biden administration:

“ignored numerous intelligence reports about the potential for a speedy Taliban takeover of Kabul.”

miscalculated the significance of Bagram Air Base, which the U.S. abandoned early in the operation. “This airbase would have improved the ability for evacuations to take place and its abandonment allowed for the release of thousands of extremists, including one who participated in the terrorist attack which killed 13 U.S. service members,” the report says.

“disregarded dissent cables from the State Department.”

“failed to plan an evacuation until it was too late, and in the process, abandoned tens of thousands of Afghan partners.”

“left behind hundreds, possibly thousands, of American citizens, tens of thousands of Afghan partners, and a legacy of American betrayal of allies.”

The report quotes the State Department as estimating, on Aug. 17, the number of Americans in the country as being between 10,000 and 15,000. With approximately 6,000 American citizens having been evacuated, “this meant the United States left at least a few thousand people behind,” the report says. But the report also notes that Secretary of State Antony Blinken later said “approximately 100-150” Americans “remained in Afghanistan who still wished to depart.”

“The Biden Administration failed to properly plan for an evacuation despite countless warning signs that a Taliban takeover was imminent,” the report says. “The U.S. government failed to even account for the number of people who would need to be evacuated, let alone for how this evacuation would occur.”

The United States, Risch said, “will have to deal with the fallout of this failure for years to come.” 

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Handout

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.