A leading US House Foreign Affairs Committee member slammed the Biden administration on Tuesday over its refusal to work with the congressionally mandated investigation body for American aid to Afghanistan.
The Associated Press reported last week that the State Department hinted that it would not comply with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
“For the State Department to refuse to cooperate with a congressionally mandated watchdog simply because it won’t repeat the false Biden administration talking points on Afghanistan is wrong, and it’s in direct violation of President Biden’s promise that ‘watchdogs have been welcomed back’ in his administration,” the top Republican on the HFAC, Michael McCaul, said in a statement.
Following reports that the head of SIGAR, John Sopko, sent separate letters to the State Department and USAID for refusing to cooperate, State Department Spokesman Ned Price was asked about the change in direction.
In a call with reporters, Price criticized the report released by SIGAR last month and said the watchdog never asked the State Department for its input.
McCaul accused Price of spreading “blatant lies,” saying there is documented correspondence proving SIGAR reached out.
“To then have the State Department spokesperson lie to members of the media in an effort to silence the watchdog is unacceptable and a clear abuse of power,” McCaul said.
He claimed that over 800 US citizens were abandoned in Afghanistan and that over 200 are still trapped in the Taliban-ruled country.
“The American people want answers and the State Department press corps deserves honesty – not more lies meant to cover up the Biden administration’s failures,” McCaul said.
Separately, Congressman Greg Steube released a statement saying, “We will not allow the Biden Administration to escape accountability for the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal.”
The Biden administration was heavily criticized for the colossal and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan last year.
Republicans and Democrats have taken aim at the sitting president and his administration for what they say was a failure to listen to the advice of the Pentagon and for the death of 13 American servicemembers. Hundreds of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents were also left behind as the US withdrew all of its diplomatic staff without drawing up a plan to evacuate those stranded.