Politics

EXCLUSIVE: House Oversight Republicans Demand Briefings On ISIS-K Attack, Drone Strike That Killed Afghan Family

(Photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell / U.S. Marine Corps via Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform asked Tuesday that national security adviser Jake Sullivan provide documentation about the last days of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.

The request for briefings, raw intelligence reports and video surveillance from the Aug. 26 ISIS-K terrorist attack at Hamid Karzai International Airport and the retaliatory drone strike that killed an Afghan aid worker and his family is signed by every Republican on the House Oversight Committee.

In the letter, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller, the Republicans assert that the drone strike “served to limit the political fallout from the suicide bombing by changing the narrative from an Administration on the defensive regarding its Afghanistan withdrawal to one on offense.” They also blast President Joe Biden’s over-the-horizon counter-terrorism strategy, calling it “an ‘over the rainbow’ idea in need of serious recalibration.”

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) initially claimed that the strike “eliminat[ed] an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamad Karzai International Airport” with “no indications” of civilian casualties. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley described the strike as “righteous,” adding that “procedures were correctly followed.”

However, following reporting from The New York Times, CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie admitted that the strike killed “as many as ten civilians, including up to seven children.” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby announced an internal investigation on Sept. 20. (RELATED: ‘You Think You’d Kind Of Know Before You Off Somebody With A Predator Drone’: Rand Paul Blasts Blinken On Drone Strike)

Congress is also responsible for conducting investigations into the Defense Department’s handling of the withdrawal, Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer told the Daily Caller.

“President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal has been an unmitigated disaster and the Administration’s strategy is nothing but reckless. The Administration’s decision to target Zemari Ahmadi, a humanitarian worker in the region, cost the lives of ten innocent civilians and only seems to have occurred because the President promised retaliatory action,” he said.

“This Administration has seemingly prioritized politics over lives and now, it’s this Committee’s constitutional duty to seek answers and hold President Biden accountable. Mr. Sullivan has played a major role in every Afghanistan decision over the past nine months and can provide Congress all the facts regarding the assassination of Zemari Ahmadi and the President’s strategy going forward. One thing is clear, a review of President Biden’s failings in Afghanistan must be comprehensive and Oversight Republicans are prepared to leave no stones unturned as we seek the truth.”

The Oversight Committee is requesting that Sullivan provide the documents and briefings by Oct. 5.

Sullivan has kept quiet on the Afghanistan withdrawal since the last American troops left the country. He last appeared on TV on Aug. 29, and has not been scheduled to testify to either the Senate or the House.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the withdrawal on Sept. 13 and 14. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Milley testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Read the letter here:

Comer Letter to Sullivan la… by Michael Ginsberg