Biden used military in Afghanistan as ‘pawns for politics’: US Congressman

US President Joe Biden in his office. Photo published by the White House on July 9, 2022.

US Congressman Brian Mast has called out President Joe Biden, accusing him of having been indifferent to American service members during the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 and having used the military as “pawns for politics”.

Addressing the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s roundtable on Tuesday on the attack on Abbey Gate at Kabul Airport on August 26, 2021, Mast said Biden “sought to execute a political operation to win political points instead of a military operation to win a fight.”

Mast said it was for this reason that Biden chose September 11, 2021, as the final date for all troops to be out of Afghanistan.

“I did not say that he planned the military operation because we know for a fact that there was a failing to apply any common sense to any level of planning that took place. They operated on a mentality to count on the best possible circumstance, not calculating for the worst case scenario at all.
Anyone who has spent a day in the military knows that is not how we operate,” Mast said.

He went on to say that Biden refused to acknowledge the warnings given by his own people on the ground at the time. Dozens of State Department employees from the US embassy in Kabul had warned about what was happening on the ground in a dissent cable, but Biden “did not read it,” said Mast adding that to his knowledge, the president “has not read it until this day”.

“He used our military as pawns for politics. He dishonored their duty to America. He decided when he did that, that they were as expendable as the [military] equipment that he left behind.”

The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s discussion Tuesday brought together family members of the 13 American service members killed in the airport explosion carried out by a Daesh suicide bomber. The explosion also claimed the lives of over 150 people from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley on Tuesday vowed “accountability” for the families of those killed in the bombing two years ago.

In a statement to Fox News, Milley, who was sharply criticized for his role in the chaotic withdrawal, said to the families of the US service members who were killed that “we owe Gold Star families everything. We owe them transparency, we owe them honesty, we owe them accountability. We owe them the truth about what happened to their loved ones.”

Relatives of the US troops killed, also known as Gold Star families, have also criticized the Biden administration, and said they were given incomplete or incorrect information at the time. They have also questioned why no one has been held accountable for the disastrous withdrawal.

However, Milley said: “I trust the Army, Navy and Marine Corps did the best they could in briefing the families who had loved ones killed at Abbey Gate. I believe the briefers gave every piece of information that they could. If there was issues with that, we need to take whatever corrective action is necessary.”

He added: “This is a personal thing for all of us in uniform. We don’t like what happened in Afghanistan. We don’t like the outcome of Afghanistan. We owe it to the families to take care of them. Their sacrifices were not in vain.”