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'Biden is going to own these ugly images': Top Republican on House of Foreign Affairs Committee slams the president over US troops skulking out of Bagram in the middle of the night

 Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has accused the Biden administration of not having a proper plan for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, placing the blame square in Biden's hands. 

'We are going dark in Afghanistan and there's going to be consequences long-term to this. And at the end of the day, when we fully withdraw, the devastation and the killings and women, humanitarian crisis, fleeing across the border into Pakistan, President Biden is going to own these ugly images,' McCaul (R-Texas) told Fox News Sunday.

The US left Afghanistan's Bagram Air Base after nearly 20 years by shutting off the electricity and slipping away without notifying the base's new Afghan commander, who discovered the Americans' departure more than two hours after they left, Afghan military officials said.

It has cost the US military 2,312 American lives and $816 billion, according to the Department of Defense. 

Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has said the Biden administration did not properly prepare to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan

Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has said the Biden administration did not properly prepare to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan

An Afghan man is seen above on Monday resting in his shop as he sells secondhand items from the Bagram US air base after American troops left over the weekend

An Afghan man is seen above on Monday resting in his shop as he sells secondhand items from the Bagram US air base after American troops left over the weekend

After nearly two decades, the US military has left the Bagram airfield in central Afghanistan and has handed it over to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces

After nearly two decades, the US military has left the Bagram airfield in central Afghanistan and has handed it over to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces

Afghanistan's army showed off the sprawling air base on Monday, providing a rare first glimpse of what had been the epicenter of America's war to unseat the Taliban and hunt down the al-Qaida perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on America.

The US announced Friday it had completely vacated its biggest airfield in the country in advance of a final withdrawal the Pentagon says will be completed by the end of August.

Afghan locals started hawking basketballs, stereo speakers, laptop computers, bicycles and helmets, desk fans, guitars, and anything else they could get their hands on after looters ransacked a now-former American military base that was vacated by departing US soldiers in the dead of night Friday.  

The Americans left behind a fleet of sport utility trucks and mine-resistant vehicles as well as a notorious prison and fortified walls.

McCaul has warned that the president would be responsible for any fallout that occurs including a resurgence of ISIS or Al Qaeda

McCaul has warned that the president would be responsible for any fallout that occurs including a resurgence of ISIS or Al Qaeda 

When he decided in April to bring the US war to a close, President Joe Biden gave the Pentagon until September 11 to complete the withdrawal. The army general in charge in Kabul, Scott Miller, has essentially finished it already, with nearly all military equipment gone and few troops left

When he decided in April to bring the US war to a close, President Joe Biden gave the Pentagon until September 11 to complete the withdrawal. The army general in charge in Kabul, Scott Miller, has essentially finished it already, with nearly all military equipment gone and few troops left

McCaul said that the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's team warned him the departure of US troops from the country would mark 'the year of the jihad.'

'What do they mean by that?' McCaul asked. 'It means all the young males in Pakistan at the madrassas are poised with the Taliban to pour over into Afghanistan and you're going to see a major civil war take place and I don't think, at the end of the day, it's going to look pretty,' McCaul said.   

'These [Afghan] interpreters, we told them we'd take care of them and we can't turn our backs and leave them to die,' McCaul said. 'They will be slaughtered by the Taliban. They're targeted by the Taliban. We have to get them out of there. There are about 9,000 of them, and I've been really pleading with the administration to come up with a plan. They just haven't prepared for this at all.'

About 650 American soldiers will remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal but their task will be to guard diplomats at the US Embassy in Kabul.

'You know, I'm from Texas, home of the Alamo, and we had 250 Texans against 5,000 Mexicans. Didn't end up so well there. I think the odds are worse in Afghanistan,' McCaul said.

'Our vital interests are ISIS and al Qaeda, and we are going to give them a safe haven as the Taliban takes over that nation and that vacuum is going to be filled by terrorists. And I'm concerned that we will be going back.'

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier take a selfie on Monday inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops had left

An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier take a selfie on Monday inside the Bagram US air base after all US and NATO troops had left

On Monday, an Afghan soldier plays a guitar that was left behind after the American military departed Bagram Air Base

On Monday, an Afghan soldier plays a guitar that was left behind after the American military departed Bagram Air Base

An Afghan scrap dealer on Saturday sorts items discarded by US forces outside Bagram Air Base

An Afghan scrap dealer on Saturday sorts items discarded by US forces outside Bagram Air Base

Looters ransacked the base after the last of the US soldiers departed Bagram on July 2

Looters ransacked the base after the last of the US soldiers departed Bagram on July 2

Infantry Squad vehicles left behind by departing US troops are seen in Bagram air base north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday

Infantry Squad vehicles left behind by departing US troops are seen in Bagram air base north of Kabul, Afghanistan on Monday

A look at items left behind at Bagram air base
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'They (Americans) are completely out now and everything is under our control, including watchtowers, air traffic and the hospital,' a senior Afghan government official told Reuters.

Reuters journalists on Monday visited the heavily fortified compound, long a symbol of Western forces deployed to shore up the Afghan government against the Taliban's campaign to regain power after being toppled by a US intervention in 2001.


Dozens of vehicles left behind by the United States stood on the premises while others zipped around with Afghan officials and personnel coming to terms with operating the vast base.

Radars oscillated as soldiers stood on guard, and hundreds of Afghan security personnel moved into barracks that once housed US soldiers.

Where American entertainers had once visited to boost the morale of US troops, an Afghan soldier strummed a guitar, singing a Pashto language epic on the Afghan homeland, while other Afghan soldiers toured the grounds on bicycles. 

A forklift carries a vehicle in Bagram after American troops abandoned it early on Friday morning

A forklift carries a vehicle in Bagram after American troops abandoned it early on Friday morning

An empty bed is seen inside a clinic in Bagram Air Base after American troops vacated it

An empty bed is seen inside a clinic in Bagram Air Base after American troops vacated it

The image above shows safety bunkers inside the Bagram Air Base after all US and NATO forces evacuated it over the weekend

The image above shows safety bunkers inside the Bagram Air Base after all US and NATO forces evacuated it over the weekend

'We (heard) some rumor that the Americans had left Bagram ... and finally by seven o'clock in the morning, we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram,' Gen. Mir Asadullah Kohistani, Bagram's new commander said.

Before the Afghan army could take control, the airfield, barely an hour's drive from the Afghan capital Kabul, was invaded by a small army of looters, who ransacked barrack after barrack and rummaged through giant storage tents before being kicked out, according to Afghan military officials.

'At first we thought maybe they were Taliban,' said Abdul Raouf, a soldier of 10 years. 

He said the US called from the Kabul airport and said 'we are here at the airport in Kabul.'

Kohistani insisted the Afghan National Security and Defense Force could hold on to the heavily fortified base despite a string of Taliban wins on the battlefield. 

Afghan security forces stand guard after the American military left Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, Afghanistan

Afghan security forces stand guard after the American military left Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, Afghanistan

A hangar behind barbed wire fencing after the American military left the base north of Kabul

A hangar behind barbed wire fencing after the American military left the base north of Kabul

Stretchers outside the clinic in Bagram after the last of the US troops left the area over the weekend

Stretchers outside the clinic in Bagram after the last of the US troops left the area over the weekend

The Bagram Air Base is mostly empty after the last American left the base, winding up its 'forever war' in the night without notifying the new Afghan commander until more than two hours after they slipped away

The Bagram Air Base is mostly empty after the last American left the base, winding up its 'forever war' in the night without notifying the new Afghan commander until more than two hours after they slipped away

Afghan security forces keep watch after the American military left Bagram Air Base north of Kabul on Monday

Afghan security forces keep watch after the American military left Bagram Air Base north of Kabul on Monday

An Afghan security forces member keeps watch in an army vehicle in Bagram Air Base Monday

An Afghan security forces member keeps watch in an army vehicle in Bagram Air Base Monday

An Afghan soldier is seen above sitting in an army vehicle inside the base that was evacuated by US forces over the weekend

An Afghan soldier is seen above sitting in an army vehicle inside the base that was evacuated by US forces over the weekend

Afghan army soldiers patrol after the American military left Bagram Air Base over the weekend

Afghan army soldiers patrol after the American military left Bagram Air Base over the weekend

Afghan army soldiers stand guard after the American military left Bagram Air Base

Afghan army soldiers stand guard after the American military left Bagram Air Base

An Afghan army soldier stands  guard inside the prison after the American military left Bagram Air Base

An Afghan army soldier stands  guard inside the prison after the American military left Bagram Air Base

An Afghan army soldier walks past Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, MRAP, that were left after the American military left Bagram

An Afghan army soldier walks past Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, MRAP, that were left after the American military left Bagram 

The image above shows an American mine-resistant ambush protection vehicle (MRAP) that was left at Bagram by departing US forces over the weekend

The image above shows an American mine-resistant ambush protection vehicle (MRAP) that was left at Bagram by departing US forces over the weekend

Blast walls and a few buildings at Bagram Air Base

Blast walls and a few buildings at Bagram Air Base 

Vehicles are parked at Bagram Airfield after the American military left the base

Vehicles are parked at Bagram Airfield after the American military left the base

The US fortress is 40 miles north of the capital, Kabul. It was the heart of American military might in Afghanistan, a sprawling mini-city behind fences and blast walls

The US fortress is 40 miles north of the capital, Kabul. It was the heart of American military might in Afghanistan, a sprawling mini-city behind fences and blast walls

The airfield also includes a prison with about 5,000 prisoners, many of them allegedly Taliban. 

The Taliban's latest surge comes as the last US and NATO forces pull out of the country. As of last week, most NATO soldiers already had quietly left. 

The last US soldiers are likely to remain until an agreement to protect the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport, which is expected to be done by Turkey, is completed.

Meanwhile, in northern Afghanistan, district after district has fallen to the Taliban. In just the last two days hundreds of Afghan soldiers fled across the border into Tajikistan rather than fight the insurgents.

'In battle it is sometimes one step forward and some steps back,' said Kohistani.

Kohistani said the Afghan military is changing its strategy to focus on the strategic districts. He insisted they would retake them in the coming days without saying how that would be accomplished.

On display Monday was a massive facility, the size of a small city, that had been exclusively used by the US and NATO. 

The once-bustling base has now been abandoned by American troops. Back in 2012, Bagram saw more than 100,000 U.S. troops and NATO service members pass through its sprawling compound. It is pictured looking eerily deserted on Friday

The once-bustling base has now been abandoned by American troops. Back in 2012, Bagram saw more than 100,000 U.S. troops and NATO service members pass through its sprawling compound. It is pictured looking eerily deserted on Friday

Empty: For two decades, the ever-expanding air base was filled with US troops. This week, the last group of American soldiers there finally departed

Empty: For two decades, the ever-expanding air base was filled with US troops. This week, the last group of American soldiers there finally departed 

U.S. and NATO troops leave Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan
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The sheer size is extraordinary, with roadways weaving through barracks and past hangar-like buildings. 

There are two runways and over 100 parking spots for fighter jets known as revetments because of the blast walls that protect each aircraft. 

One of the two runways is 12,000 feet long and was built in 2006. 

There's a passenger lounge, a 50-bed hospital and giant hangar size tents filled with supplies such as furniture.

Kohistani said the US left behind 3.5 million items, all itemized by the departing US military. 

They include tens of thousands of bottles of water, energy drinks and military ready made meals, known as MRE's.

'When you say 3.5 million items, it is every small items, like every phone, every door knob, every window in every barracks, every door in every barracks,' he said.

The big ticket items left behind include thousands of civilian vehicles, many of them without keys to start them, and hundreds of armored vehicles. 

Kohistani said the US also left behind small weapons and the ammunition for them, but the departing troops took heavy weapons with them. 

US troops are seen loading a helicopter onto a C-17 Globesmaster at Bagram on June 16 as they prepare to leave the base

US troops are seen loading a helicopter onto a C-17 Globesmaster at Bagram on June 16 as they prepare to leave the base 

A gate at the Bagram base on June 25, as the last US troops prepared to withdraw

A gate at the Bagram base on June 25, as the last US troops prepared to withdraw

Ammunition for weapons not being left behind for the Afghan military was blown up before they left.

Afghan soldiers who wandered Monday throughout the base that had once seen as many as 100,000 US troops were deeply critical of how the US left Bagram, leaving in the night without telling the Afghan soldiers tasked with patrolling the perimeter.

'In one night they lost all the good will of 20 years by leaving the way they did, in the night, without telling the Afghan soldiers who were outside patrolling the area,' said Afghan soldier Naematullah, who asked that only his one name be used.

Within 20 minutes of the U.S.'s silent departure on Friday, the electricity was shut down and the base was plunged into darkness, said Raouf, the soldier of 10 years who has also served in Taliban strongholds of Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

The sudden darkness was like a signal to the small army of looters, he said. They entered from the north smashing through the first barrier, ransacking buildings, loading anything that was not nailed down into trucks.

On Monday, three days after the US departure, Afghan soldiers were still collecting piles of garbage that included empty water bottles, cans and empty energy drinks left behind by the looters.

Bagram was built by the US for its Afghan ally during the Cold War in the 1950s

Bagram was built by the US for its Afghan ally during the Cold War in the 1950s

US forces load a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter into a C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Resolute Support retrograde mission, the withdrawal from Bagram, on June 16, 2021

US forces load a UH-60L Blackhawk helicopter into a C-17 Globemaster III in support of the Resolute Support retrograde mission, the withdrawal from Bagram, on June 16, 2021

NOVEMBER 2019: President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops, with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani standing behind him, during an unannounced visit to Bagram over Thanksgiving

NOVEMBER 2019: President Donald Trump delivers remarks to U.S. troops, with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani standing behind him, during an unannounced visit to Bagram over Thanksgiving

The base has been the subject of a number of deadly Taliban attacks over the last two decades. In April 2019, three US Marines were killed when a Taliban car bomb detonated at the airbase

The base has been the subject of a number of deadly Taliban attacks over the last two decades. In April 2019, three US Marines were killed when a Taliban car bomb detonated at the airbase

VICTIMS: Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pa., Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del., and Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y were killed in April 2019 when a roadside bomb hit their convoy near Bagram Airfield

VICTIMS: Sgt. Benjamin S. Hines, 31, of York, Pa., Staff Sgt. Christopher K.A. Slutman, 43, of Newark, Del., and Cpl. Robert A. Hendriks, 25, of Locust Valley, N.Y were killed in April 2019 when a roadside bomb hit their convoy near Bagram Airfield

President Barack Obama rallies troops at Bagram in 2010
President George W. Bush speaks to troops at Bagram in 2006

It has been visited by every US President - apart from Joe Biden - since American troops moved in: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Biden visited when he was Vice President back in 2011


US military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett on Monday did not address the specific complaints of the many Afghan soldiers who inherited their abandoned airfield, instead referring to a statement last week.

The statement said the handover had been in the process soon after President Joe Biden's mid-April announcement that America was withdrawing the last of its forces. 

He said in that statement that they had coordinated their departures with Afghanistan's leaders.

Kohistani meanwhile said the nearly 20 years of US and NATO involvement in Afghanistan was appreciated but now it was time for Afghans to step up.

'We have to solve our problem. We have to secure our country and once again build our country with our own hands,' he said.

An Afghan soldier walks around the perimeter of the airbase with the control tower seen behind the barbed-wire wall at Bagram Air Base

An Afghan soldier walks around the perimeter of the airbase with the control tower seen behind the barbed-wire wall at Bagram Air Base

After dislodging the Taliban from Kabul, the US-led coalition began working with their warlord allies to rebuild Bagram, with temporary structures that then turned permanent. Its growth was explosive, eventually swallowing up roughly 30 square miles complete with a hefty border fence

After dislodging the Taliban from Kabul, the US-led coalition began working with their warlord allies to rebuild Bagram, with temporary structures that then turned permanent. Its growth was explosive, eventually swallowing up roughly 30 square miles complete with a hefty border fence

1 comment:

  1. How about the image of Biden kneeling before the new president of Israel?

    ReplyDelete