Cotton Takes Charge Of GOP’s Push To Get Answers On Afghanistan

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Sen. Tom Cotton from Arkansas is taking the lead in the GOP’s push to get President Joe Biden to clarify the number of Americans and allies that remain in Afghanistan after U.S. troops withdrew from the country.

Cotton spearheaded a group of 26 Republican senators who wrote to Biden on Thursday morning asking for information on who was left behind.

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“Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan,” the senators wrote. “We are also concerned by reports that ineligible individuals, including Afghans with ties to terrorist organizations or serious, violent criminals, were evacuated alongside innocent refugee families.”

The letter asked how many Americans remain in Afghanistan, as well as how many green card holders and special immigrant visa (SIV) applicants who aided U.S. troops were not evacuated. A State Department official estimated on Wednesday that the “majority” of SIVs were not rescued.

The senators also requested information on the vetting of those who were not SIVs or green card holders but were still evacuated. “How many had no pending immigration application or status with the United States prior to being airlifted?” they asked in the letter.

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“The signatories of this letter may have differing opinions about whether the United States should have maintained a military presence in Afghanistan, but we all agree that the arbitrary and poorly-planned method by which you withdrew from Afghanistan caused this crisis,” they added.

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Sebastian Hughes on September 2, 2021