- Former US Marine Tyler Vargas-Andrews testified before Congress about the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2021
- The House Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry heard from US soldiers and veterans about the mental health impacts of the withdrawal
- Vargas-Andrews testified that he had identified a suspect in an incident at Kabul’s airport that resulted in the deaths of 13 US soldiers and 170 Afghan civilians
- Testimony indicated that each presidential administration since US troops were first deployed to Afghanistan had a role in the current situation
- Republicans placed the blame on the Biden administration
Former US Marine Testifies Before Congress
On Tuesday, former US Marine Tyler Vargas-Andrews testified before Congress, describing the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2021 as a “significant event”.
Impacts of Withdrawal
The House Foreign Affairs Committee inquiry into the evacuation from Afghanistan heard from other US soldiers and veterans who discussed the mental health impacts of the withdrawal.
Vargas-Andrews testified that he and another US Marine had received intelligence regarding an incident at Kabul’s airport on 26 August 2021, which resulted in the deaths of 13 US soldiers and 170 Afghan civilians.
He stated that he had identified the suspect in the crowd and had requested authorization to take action, but had not received a response.
Role of Presidential Administrations
Testimony from the majority of witnesses indicated that each presidential administration since US troops were first deployed to Afghanistan, from George W Bush to Joe Biden, had a role in the current situation.
Witnesses also called for prompt action to assist Afghan allies who are now in a precarious position both in Afghanistan and in the US.
Republicans who had long advocated for an investigation placed the blame on the Biden administration.
Congressman Gregory Meeks from New York commented that President Biden had “made the decision to bring all our troops home”.
Mr Biden previously stated that he held himself accountable for the events that had transpired, but he also noted that the withdrawal deal with the Taliban had been negotiated under the previous administration.
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