Lawmakers reportedly walked out of a “classified briefing” on Afghanistan with members of US president Joe Biden’s administration, doing so as their questions went “unanswered.” The briefing was held by officials from the State Department, Department for Homeland Security, and Office of the Director of National Security for members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The “frustrated” lawmakers belonged to the ruling Democratic party, as well as Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump’s Republicans, CNN said of Wednesday’s interaction, adding that Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican on the committee, told the channel that “everyone walked out of the meeting”.
The source of “frustration,” according to the lawmakers, is that they don’t understand why State Department officials continue to say, both privately and officially, that about 100 more American citizens in Afghanistan wish to be evacuated in the wake of the Taliban’s August 15 power grab, but, on the other hand, also say that 75 Americans have been flown out of the war-torn nation in recent weeks.
CNN quoted an official as saying , The State Department, however has described “dynamic situation on the ground” as the reason why a more precise figure cannot be provided. “As a general matter, we do not comment on communications with the Congress, especially those held in a classified setting”.
The United States completed its military pullout from Afghanistan on August 30, day before a self-imposed deadline to do so. Though this ended its 20-year-long military presence in that country, president Biden came under fire over its execution, with desperate Afghans thronging Kabul International Airport to leave their homeland for safer destinations.
Some Democrats, gave a totally different sequence of events, saying that many members were “satisfied” with the meeting. The reason for leaving the briefing, they said, was that several Republicans were not wearing their Covid-19 face masks.