Sen. Dan Sullivan, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan demanding answers on why the Biden administration chose the seemingly arbitrary date of Aug. 31 to withdraw all U.S. military forces from Afghanistan, even though American citizens remain trapped in the Taliban-controlled country.
The full text of the letter:
Dear Secretary Austin, Secretary Blinken, and Mr. Sullivan,
During a televised press conference on August 20, 2021, President Biden looked the American people in the eye and told them: “Let me be clear. Any American who wants to come home, we will get you home.” Almost immediately, senior Administration officials, including Secretary Blinken, tried to walk back President Biden’s pledge, both in public comments and in private briefs with members of Congress. Today, as the last U.S. military aircraft departed Kabul, Secretary Blinken estimated there were possibly 200 American citizens on the ground in Afghanistan who wanted to leave. These Americans, forsaken by President Biden, are now trapped behind enemy lines, dependent on the Taliban’s good graces to get out of Afghanistan.
For weeks, I have questioned senior White House and Department of Defense officials about who selected the August 31, 2021 deadline, if any military considerations required maintaining that deadline, and why the deadline could not be moved to ensure every American was evacuated from Afghanistan when we had the military assets on the ground to safely do the job. I am still waiting for answers to these and other related questions.
My Alaska constituents and their fellow Americans are also demanding answers to these basic questions, and accountability and responsibility for the hasty, chaotic, and botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, which has left hundreds of Americans stranded behind Taliban lines and our country more vulnerable to international terrorism than at any time since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
United States Senator