“Catastrophic Withdrawal”. This was the shocking description with which the veteran of the war in Afghanistan, the former sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews referred this Wednesday in the US House of Representatives to the order given by the president Joe Bidenin April 2021 that meant not only the return of the Taliban to power but also bloodshed in the Afghan streets and the deaths of hundreds of people who tried to escape the Taliban horror.
Vargas-Andrews, who was part of a sniper team stationed at the airport, assured the committee that before the attack, members of his squad saw a man fitting the description of a suicide bomber. But when asked if he had received permission to shoot the suspected terrorist, Vargas-Andrews, he replied: “I don’t know.” The suspect eventually disappeared into the crowd.
Broken and in tears, the veteran who lost a leg and an arm in his last hours in the Afghan country, assured that it was all a succession of “negligence.” He criticized the “lack of explanations” by the US president and wanted to honor the memory of his comrades who died in the suicide terrorist attacks at the end of August 2021, whom he said “deserve answers.”
“To this day, we believe that man was a suicide bomber,” Vargas-Andrews said. “Our experience was not taken into account,” he added. “Nobody took responsibility for our safety.”
“What happened in Afghanistan was a systemic collapse of the Biden government at every level and a stunning failure of leadership on the part of the president,” the representative said. Michael McCaulRepublican from Texas, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Former sergeant Tyler Vargas-Andrews also described those hard moments where the smell of human flesh predominated under a huge column of smoke from the attacks while listening to the screams of children, women and men who crowded around the Kabul airport after the two attacks. suicide bombers on August 26, 2021 that claimed the lives of 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US soldiers.
“I keep seeing the faces of all those people we couldn’t save, who we had to leave behind,” said Vargas-Andrews, who wore a prosthetic arm and showed the scars of his own injuries sustained during the attack in which he he was seriously injured. “The withdrawal from Afghanistan was a catastrophe,” he insisted, “and there was an inexcusable lack of accountability,” he added.
Wednesday’s was the first hearing into a congressional inquiry that Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have promised to uncover the truth about the frantic US troop pullout from Afghanistan that ended with the world’s worst war. long history for the US.
The witnesses who appeared recounted the horror experienced in Kabul during the last days of August 2021, where they also saw mothers carry the bodies of their deceased babies and the Taliban shoot ordinary citizens or beat them brutally. The different testimonies not only addressed the decision to withdraw announced by Biden, for which he has never shown regret, but quite the opposite, since those present pointed out that it was a desperate attempt to save US citizens and Afghan friends without any contingency plan and with almost no support from the White House.
In fact, Lieutenant Colonel in the reserve, Scott Mann, assured that “the United States is earning a bad reputation for systematic abandonment to our allies over several generations, in which we left smoking human residue from the people of the mountains of Vietnam even the Kurds in Syria.”
The victory of the Republicans in the House of Representatives is choking US President Joe Biden. Until November of last year, the tight Democratic control of both houses of Congress hampered investigations, deprived US citizens of transparency and had impeded the accountability of any democracy.
The disorderly withdrawal of US troops has already generated internal criticism and criticism from US allies, who have called into question Biden’s campaign to restore the US’s reputation abroad.