House to Subpoena Blinken over Afghanistan Cable

March 28, 2023

The House Foreign Affairs Committee planned to deliver a subpoena to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday for classified cables related to the 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) said Monday that during a discussion with Blinken earlier in the day, the Secretary had said his cabinet department would not be turning over a so-called dissent cable written by diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul shortly before the military’s pullout.

The July 2021 cable reportedly warned Blinken about the potential fall of Kabul via a special “dissent channel,” which allows the State Department to issue warnings or express contrarian views directly to senior officials.

Last week, the State Department made a direct offer to share the substance of the cable but not the cable itself.

The dispute over the classified cable is the latest in a series by House Republicans to obtain documents from the Biden Admnistration—and in particular the State Department—related to the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. 

Just last week, McCaul threatened Blinken with a subpoena of he did not deliver three requested documents related to Afghanistan.

Republicans, who took majority control of the House in January, held their first hearing on the military pullout earlier this month, saying there has never before been a full accounting of the situation, during which 13 U.S. service members were killed and 20 others were wounded when a member of the terrorist organization ISIS-K detonated a suicide bomb near Kabul airport.

The suicide bombing, along with the rapid collapse of Afghanistan’s government and military, have led to a refugee crisis amid the Taliban’s takeover. The U.S. left behind an estimated 78,000 Afghans who worked for the U.S.  

One day after McCaul’s demanded for the three documents, Blinken told the Senate Appropriations Committee that the State Department was putting together a review of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and would share its findings by mid-April.

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