The US House of Representatives House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) issued a subpoena to the State Department on 28 March, demanding the release of a ‘dissent cable‘ that was signed by 23 staffers from the US embassy in Kabul in July 2021, in which they warned that the defeat of the US-trained Afghan army by the Taliban was “imminent.”
“We have made multiple good faith attempts to find common ground so we could see this critical piece of information,” HFAC Chairman Mike McCaul said in a statement on Monday. “Unfortunately, Secretary Blinken has refused to provide the Dissent Cable and his response to the cable, forcing me to issue my first subpoena as chairman of this committee,” he added.
The existence of the classified cable was first reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on 19 August, 2021, four days after the Taliban completed their takeover of Afghanistan and as Washington pushed forward with its botched withdrawal from the country.
In the communication, dated 13 July, 2021, both Blinken and Director of Policy Planning Salman Ahmed were warned by officials on the ground that “the Taliban’s advance was coming sooner than the administration had anticipated, and correctly predicted that Afghanistan’s military would be unable to stop it.”
The HFAC launched an official investigation into the US army’s withdrawal from Afghanistan back in January.
“It is absurd and disgraceful that the Biden administration has repeatedly denied our longstanding oversight requests and continues to withhold information related to the withdrawal,” McCaul said in a statement at the time, adding that the HFAC planned to “enforce these requests as necessary, including through a compulsory process.”
On 31 August, 2021, the Pentagon finished its chaotic withdrawal from the war-torn country after witnessing the Taliban cut through the US-trained Afghan army with little to no opposition.
Images of crowds storming parked planes, climbing atop aircraft, and even clinging to a departing US military cargo plane as it rolled down the runway of Hamid Karzai International Airport were aired around the world, sending Biden’s approval ratings plummeting.