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Afghanistan: Time for Accountability

The terrorists we fought in Afghanistan are now ruling the country we fought to liberate. Who will be held accountable, and when?

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the deadliest terror attack in human history, our nation’s leaders gathered in Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, during solemn ceremonies for the 2,977 who died that terrible day. Similar ceremonies were held in communities across America.

One such event was held in Lebanon, Tennessee, at the Tennessee Conservative Convention. Sponsored by Tennessee Sen. Mark Pody, it was billed as “Restoring Hope: Faith, Family and Freedom.” The ceremony was packed with active-duty personnel and dependents from Fort Campbell, veterans and numerous Gold Star families. During question-and-answer sessions, those in attendance wanted to know: Given the way the war ended, was our sacrifice wasted? The terrorists we fought in Afghanistan are now ruling the country we fought to liberate. Who will be held accountable, and when?

About 2,450 U.S. military personnel and 3,840 U.S. contractors lost their lives in Afghanistan. Nearly 21,000 were seriously wounded. For two decades, the “NATO coalition” won all the battles against the Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS and the Haqqani network, yet these terrorist organizations are now “governing” Afghanistan. No one has yet been held accountable.

That might change. One of the speakers at the ceremony in Lebanon was an American hero — Rep. Mark Green, who represents Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District. Green is a 1986 U.S. Military Academy graduate who was decorated for heroism for his service as a flight surgeon in Afghanistan and Iraq. He now serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees. On Saturday, he reminded his constituents that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will address the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Sept. 13 and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Here are some relevant questions Blinken must answer:

No. 1: Who authorized abandoning Bagram Air Base on July 8? Who was assigned the mission of removing or destroying weapons, equipment, aircraft, sensitive military material and tens of millions in cash at Bagram? Why did they fail to do so?

No. 2: In July and August, President Joe Biden promised to leave no Americans or allies behind. Yet hundreds of American citizens and NATO allies and tens of thousands of Afghan allies and their families were left behind. Who is responsible for failing to carry out the president’s promise?

No. 3: Why has the State Department failed to negotiate agreements with other nations to grant asylum to Afghan nationals fleeing in fear of being murdered by death squads?

No. 4: Who authorized the firing of a Hellfire missile from a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle that killed a U.S. Agency for International Development contractor and seven children on Aug. 29?

No. 5: Who was responsible for failing to notify our NATO allies of the decision to have all “friendlies” out of Afghanistan by the Taliban’s Aug. 31 “deadline?” How many of these “third-country nationals” are still in harm’s way?

No. 6: Did you advise Biden to ask Ashraf Ghani — the Obama-Biden administration’s hand-picked president of Afghanistan — to lie about the Taliban’s rapid advance on Kabul?

No. 7: When Ghani fled to United Arab Emirates, Amrullah Saleh — the democratically-elected vice president of Afghanistan — went to the Panjshir Valley to form a National Resistance Front. He publicly begged for humanitarian support for the NRF. Why didn’t you respond?

No. 8: Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke for 90 minutes on Thursday, Sept. 9. Did they discuss Communist China’s plan to negotiate a status of forces agreement to use Baghram airbase for basing Chinese “personnel?” Provide a transcript of their conversation.

We the people deserve answers to these questions. That’s accountability.

COPYRIGHT 2021 OLIVER L. NORTH AND DAVID L. GOETSCH

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