US Congressman 'prepared to go forward' with subpoenas in Abbey Gate investigation

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has increasingly scrutinised Biden for the withdrawal from Afghanistan

Republican representative Michael McCaul has said the House of Representatives is prepared to go forward with subpoenas. AP
Powered by automated translation

The chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee is “prepared to go forward” with issuing subpoenas to top Biden administration officials over the deadly Kabul airport bombing during Washington's chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Republican representative Mike McCaul told Fox News on Sunday that Congress has been “denied access” to US President Joe Biden's top military leaders including Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Gen Mark Milley, in its continuing investigations into the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Mr McCaul centred his Sunday remarks on the blast at Abbey Gate outside Kabul airport, which killed at least 183 people including 11 US marines, a sailor and a soldier, as Afghans frantically tried to get on crowded flights leaving the country after the Taliban takeover. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We're prepared to go forward with subpoenas to get to the bottom because these Gold Star families that you just showed deserve the truth as to what happened to make sure this never happens again,” said Mr McCaul, referring to families of killed US service members.

“This story gets worse by the day and I will not rest until we get to the bottom of it."

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has increased its investigations of the Biden administration and its handling of the end of America's longest war.

Republicans have sought to characterise the Biden administration's actions as a “dereliction of duty”.

Mr Biden has blamed his predecessor, Donald Trump, for cutting a deal with the Taliban that all but ensured a hasty retreat under a compressed timetable.

Last month, Mr McCaul subpoenaed the State Department in a bid to obtain documents related to its Afghanistan withdrawal report, accusing President Joe Biden's administration of “obstruction”.

In a March hearing, Abbey Gate survivor Sgt Tyler Vargas-Andrews told the foreign affairs committee that he and his team had a chance to shoot the bomber – but were never given permission to do so.

“Plain and simple, we were ignored. Our expertise was disregarded. No one was held accountable for our safety,” Sgt Vargas-Andrews, who lost a leg, an arm, and a kidney in the blast, told the committee.

A Pentagon report last year concluded that the attack was “not preventable”, that security precautions were being taken and that intelligence about potential threats circulating that day was “not specific”.

Updated: August 14, 2023, 10:05 AM