Steube Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Prioritize Evacuations of U.S. Citizens in Afghanistan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today introduced the Prioritize Evacuation of U.S. Citizens in Afghanistan Act, legislation which would direct the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State to submit a plan to Congress regarding the evacuation of U.S. citizens trapped in Afghanistan.
“Joe Biden’s lack of a plan to evacuate the remaining Americans trapped in Afghanistan is a reprehensible dereliction of duty,” Steube said. “After causing one of the worst foreign policy blunders in history, he and Vice President Harris must take responsibility for their failures and take steps to prioritize the safe return of American citizens as they face serious threats from the Taliban.”
The legislation is bipartisan, with U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) as the Democrat lead.
Specifically, this legislation calls for U.S. citizens and their families to be prioritized in the repatriation process following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Additionally, the bill directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to make efforts to recover or destroy U.S. equipment and materials, including weapons, vehicles, and aircraft that have been left behind in Afghanistan.
Following President Joe Biden’s hasty and disorganized withdrawal of U.S. troops, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 American citizens are trapped in the country without clear plans for evacuation. This is due largely in part to Biden’s decision to remove U.S. troops from Bagram Airfield before evacuations were complete. Without access to this air base, evacuation efforts are forced to rely on the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, which is under Taliban control.
Members of the Taliban have been openly committing acts of violence in the streets and there have been several reports of them beating those who attempt to pass checkpoints getting to the airport.
When asked about evacuation efforts and chaotic scenes at the airport in Kabul, Biden dismissed the question and incorrectly responded that it was “five days ago,” signaling a lack of urgency to successfully help those trapped.
Aside from evacuations, this legislation also addresses the issue of remaining U.S. military equipment that remains in Afghanistan. There have been reports of Taliban soldiers using American uniforms, munitions, and now even having access to American aircraft to continue carrying out their terrorist mission.
The full text of the legislation can be found here.