McCaul says U.S. lacks ‘intelligence surveillance’ in Afghanistan, ‘we’re dark’ and ‘there’s danger’
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House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul says the U.S. is “dark” on intelligence in Afghanistan as the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan allies continues.
Just the News asked McCaul on Wednesday if the Taliban now has control of the Internet in Afghanistan — a claim that has started circulating on social media.
“I don’t want to get into classified space, but I’ll tell you when we shut down Bagram [air base], all of our ISR, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capabilities, went down,” McCaul, a Texas Republican, said during a bipartisan news conference about the status of the U.S. withdraw from Afghanistan.
“When you shut an embassy down, you have no more eyes and ears on the ground, and we’re dark,” he added. “We’re not only dark in Afghanistan to see the threat from the Taliban, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, we’re dark with respect to the threat from Russia, China and Iran. This was a strategic error. I asked this morning, what is our ISR capability? When are we going to get it up, in a country nearby perhaps? I’ve been very disappointed with no plan or strategy.”
The abandoned U.S. embassy in Afghanistan reportedly cost more than $800 million to construct.
McCaul told reporters that the Foreign Relations Committee is working with Secretary of State Tony Blinken on scheduling a hearing about the Biden administration’s execution of the withdraw from Afghanistan.
Rep. Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat who serves as vice chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said U.S. citizens and Afghan allies should have been evacuated from Afghanistan much earlier to prevent the dire situation that’s unfolding on the ground right now at the Kabul airport. McCaul shared the same assessment.
“We should have had these Americans out, the interpreters out months ago. And we should have set up our ISR capability. I had a joint op-ed with Ambassador Crocker in the New York Times spelling out exactly what needs to be done and these were all the points that we made,” McCaul said. “And my Democratic colleagues agree but we are dark and when we’re dark, there’s danger, especially in a country like Afghanistan, where we know Al-Qaeda’s numbers are probably more than they were before 9/11 and they have a safe haven.”
McCaul, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also said ISIS-K might be an enemy of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda but they have the same intent, which is to “kill the infidel, to kill Americans.”
“So I think we have to be very, very aware of that fact,” he said.
White House to send more than $300 million in aid to Afghanistan despite Taliban control
The White House announced plans Tuesday to send more than $308 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as millions face starvation under the new Taliban government following President Joe Biden’s withdrawal.
The assistance would be given by the United States Agency for International Development through “independent humanitarian organizations” to the Afghan people, National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne said.
The administration has been criticized for sending aid to Afghanistan previously. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warned that it would be “foolish” and asserted that the Taliban “would take the money.”
“This brings total U.S. humanitarian aid in Afghanistan and for Afghan refugees in the region to nearly $782 million since October 2021, and we remain the single largest donor of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan,” Horne said, adding that the U.S. has also given 4.3 million COVID-19 doses to the Afghan people.
Assistance will “help provide lifesaving protection and shelter, essential health care, winterization assistance, emergency food aid, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in response to the growing humanitarian needs exacerbated by COVID-19 and healthcare shortages, drought, malnutrition, and the winter season,” Horne said.
China sent assistance to Afghanistan last month to help the nation prepare for winter and build ties between the Chinese Communist Party and the new jihadist government.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Afghan people and we continue to consider all options available to us,” Horne concluded. “We stand with the people of Afghanistan.”
ARTICLE: Fort Hood soldier found dead behind barracks
The soldier was identified as Spc. Maxwell Hockin, who was assigned to 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He entered the Army in March 2017 as a combat engineer, Fort Hood officials said Wednesday.
Hockin’s awards and decorations include the Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, National Defense Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon, officials said.
Hockin had been at the Texas base since July 2017, where he was assigned to the 91st Engineer Battalion.
“The entire Saber family is devastated by the loss of our true teammate and friend Specialist Maxwell Hockin,” Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander, 91st Engineer Battalion, said in a statement Wednesday. “He had an outstanding work ethic, was a mentor to his peers, and was always willing to help out the team. He will truly be missed. Our thoughts and our prayers are with Maxwell’s family during this difficult time.”
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VIDEOS: How many Americans are still in Afghanistan?
A good question How many American are still in Afghanistan… those who should know don’t.
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