BOISE, Idaho – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement ahead of the one-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul on August 15 and the United States’ hazardous withdrawal from Afghanistan:
“In the one year since Kabul fell to the Taliban and the United States haphazardly withdrew from Afghanistan, we still don’t have full answers as to how the Biden Administration failed to see it coming and did not have an effective plan in place to evacuate American citizens and Afghan partners,” said Risch. “Tens of thousands of SIVs remain stranded in Afghanistan, the human rights of women and girls have all but disappeared, al-Qaeda has clearly returned to Afghanistan, terrorism concerns are on the rise, and we lack sufficient safeguards to ensure U.S. assistance doesn’t end up in the hands of the Taliban. Further, the Taliban’s harboring of Ayman al-Zawahri highlights how it cannot be trusted to hold up any of the commitments it made in the Doha Agreement.”
“In order to prevent a similar catastrophe from happening again, it’s imperative the Biden Administration seriously investigates what went wrong and learns from those mistakes,” Risch continued. “The fact that it’s been a year and we have yet to see any comprehensive reports or policy corrections is not only concerning, but unacceptable. Looking forward, the administration should be focused on developing a comprehensive counterterrorism plan, safeguarding human rights, and creating guardrails on U.S. assistance to prevent direct benefit to the Taliban. I expect the administration to provide Congress with briefings and appropriate answers in the coming weeks.”
One year since the fall of Kabul:
Counterterrorism concerns continue to grow:
Human rights have plummeted in Afghanistan:
We continue to send financial aid to Afghanistan without sufficient guardrails to prevent diversions to terrorism:
70,000+ Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) are still awaiting processing:
American citizen Mark Frerichs is being held hostage:
American credibility with allies and partners has still not recovered:
The administration has still not provided an analysis of what went wrong:
In September 2021, Risch introduced the Afghanistan Counterterrorism, Oversight, and Accountability Act, comprehensive legislation to address the outstanding issues related to the administration’s rushed and disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
In February 2022, Risch published a report entitled “Left Behind: A Brief Assessment of the Biden Administration’s Strategic Failures during the Afghanistan Evacuation,” to give an overview of what went wrong in the planning and execution of the Biden Administration’s hazardous withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Also in February 2022, Risch and Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced a bill to require the U.S. State Department to release a public, unclassified version of the July 13, 2021, internal dissent channel cable that reportedly warned of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s ability to capture Kabul.