House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a letter to President Biden requesting a “Gang of 8” briefing on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan where the U.S. military is attempting to evacuate Americans from the Taliban-controlled capital.
“It is of the utmost importance that the U.S. Government account for all U.S. citizens in Afghanistan and provide the necessary information and means of departure to all those Americans who desire to leave the country,” said the letter from the two Republican leaders, sent on Thursday.
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The letter requested a briefing or call with the Gang of Eight, a colloquial term for the eight congressional leaders briefed on classified intel matters, to cover six key areas regarding the evacuation.
The topics to be discussed in the meeting include:
- The number and location of U.S. persons currently located in Afghanistan, and the methodology to determine such a number and location;
- The Taliban’s security posture inside Kabul and the ability of U.S. persons to safely travel to Hamid Karzai International Airport from inside the city;
- The status of discussions with the Taliban to ensure the safety of U.S. persons;
- The ability of the U.S. Government to communicate with U.S. persons in country;
- The Administration’s plan to evacuate U.S. persons outside of Kabul who cannot travel safely to the city; and
- The number of U.S. persons unaccounted for in the country and the potential reasons why such individuals have not been reached.
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Biden has faced growing criticism over the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan, where thousands of Americans and allies are still reportedly stranded in Kabul attempting to get past Taliban roadblocks surrounding the airport.
Biden defended his actions in an interview with ABC News on Wednesday and said that his administration knew all along that the withdrawal would be chaos.
“No. I don’t think it could’ve been handled in a way that – we’re going to go back in hindsight and look but the idea that somehow there was a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden said.
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“So for you, that was always priced in the decision?” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos responded.
“Yes,” Biden answered.