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Ranking Republicans ‘Plan to Vigorously Investigate’ Withdrawal from Afghanistan, Demand Admin ‘Preserve all Records’

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Afghanistan

Three top Republicans on the key oversight committees for the Afghanistan War sent a letter to President Joe Biden Wednesday to say that once the effort to “locate and evacuate” the thousands of Americans that are stranded, “House Republicans plan to vigorously investigate your administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

The three ranking members who penned the letter are Representatives Devin Nunes of the Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, Mike Rogers of the Committee on Armed Services and Michael T. McCaul of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. In addition to President Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Director of National Intelligence were all CC’d on the letter.

“The ongoing chaos in Afghanistan profoundly concerns the American people. The horrifying scenes on the ground and the resulting erosion of America’s worldwide geostrategic position raise troubling questions about your administration’s ability to competently manage a major foreign crisis” the letter begins.

Stating “our primary duty is to protect the American people” the Republicans say they “Were shocked to hear White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declare that no Americans are stranded in Afghanistan.” They asked Biden to acknowledge that thousands in fact remain stranded and “do all in your power to locate and evacuate these U.S. citizens. Our nation has no higher priority at this moment in history.”

However, “once that effort is complete and our people are safely returned to their families, House Republicans plan to vigorously investigate your administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

They then request that Biden’s administration “including the Department of Defense, Department of State, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, as well as the broader Intelligence Community – take immediate steps to preserve all records related to your Administration’s withdrawal of U.S. personnel, including diplomatic staff, intelligence personnel, and military forces, as well as those of our allies, from Afghanistan.”

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International

Afghan Journalists Release Photos After Being Severely Beaten by Taliban for Covering Women’s Protest

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Journalists

Two Afghan journalists, photographer Nematullah Naqdi and reporter Taqi Daryabi were severely beaten by the Taliban for reporting on a women’s protest in Kabul. The two were battered after being beaten with batons, electric cables and whips. The beating occurred after being detained for several hours by Taliban fighters a day earlier.

The two men, who work for Afghan’s media outlet Etilaat Roz, released photos of their bruised bodies once back in their Kabul office, after being released from Taliban custody. Naqdi told Agence France-Presse “One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head…I thought they were going to kill me.”

Daryabi added “we were in so much pain that we couldn’t move.” Naqdi said he was told “you are lucky you weren’t beheaded” when asked why they were being beaten. When covering a protest on Wednesday outside a Kabul police station calling for an end to Taliban violations of women and girls, Naqdi said a Taliban fighter immediately tried to grab his camera when he began taking photos.

Journalists

The Taliban were also rounding up anyone filming or taking photos of the demonstration, added Naqdi. The two say they were taken to a nearby police station where the beatings took place, only to be released after several hours.

Journalists

The New York Post reports dozens of Afghan reporters have been beaten or accosted in recent weeks since the Taliban has recovered control of Afghanistan. The Taliban, however, claims that they will uphold press freedoms under their new regime. As has been proven time and time again, not much faith, if any, can be placed into anything the Taliban says or promises.

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Raw Footage from Marine’s Helmet GoPro Shows ‘Two Straight Weeks of Worsening Conditions’ in Kabul

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Kabul

The Blaze got ahold of raw video taken from a Marine’s GoPro which shows the true chaos endured by those in Kabul as U.S. evacuations took place at the Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Marine Cpl. Mike Markland strung together the video clips from his helmet’s GoPro camera. The footage “captured the grittiness and desperation of the hurried evacuation” and reveals “two straight weeks of worsening conditions” on the ground, as seen from the viewpoint of the Marine from 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

The  7-minute video has been saved on a YouTube page and shows U.S. service members disabling American military equipment and vehicles. It also shows stacks of AK-47s, PK machine guns, M-16s, and other weapons likely abandoned by the Afghan military after the country collapsed. The end of the video pays tribute to the 13 U.S. service members who died in the suicide bombing in Kabul.

Markland originally posted the video to his Instagram account, but it has since been deleted. The Blaze reports Task & Purpose published the video, as well as Markland’s comments on social media before the video, had been removed.

“I hope this answers questions but also provokes you to ask more,” Markland captioned the since-deleted Instagram video. “To my brothers and sisters who were there I made this for you and your family. When you have the lack of ability to explain all that happened in those two weeks, show them this. Stand tall and wear the last two weeks on your chest.”

“I haven’t found a way to explain it with any words I know,” the Marine admitted.

“Many of us joined because we liked fighting and were good with adversity and conflict,” Markland reportedly wrote. “Two weeks in Kabul at HKIA put all of that to the test. I can’t say enough how proud I am of the Marines I serve with.”

“Odds were stacked against us. Circumstances undeniably out of our control, but we never let it deter our tenacious approach towards our mission at hand. Adversity and challenges happened 24/7,” Markland said.

The Marine noted that “almost all had no predesignated plan.”

“We did our absolute best and remained stoic through the sleepless nights and round-the-clock work with minimal food and water,” he continued. “Staying up for two or more days straight at a time grinding but remaining intensely vigilant.”

The Blaze writes of the footage, “Markland’s video paints a far more shambolic Kabul exit than the sanitized photos and videos provided by the Department of Defense.”

The Blaze continues and details the footage:

The Afghans are densely packed into small areas with barbed wire fences at the borders of the holding area outside the Kabul airport. Marines shoot crowd munitions to attempt to calm the frantic masses. When crowd munitions aren’t effective, Marines are seen firing off warning shots from their firearms in an attempt to control the large crowds.

Babies are seen being handed to the Marines for safety. Lacking medical equipment, wounded people are taken to get treatment on a ladder. Men and women are seen bursting into tears. In one clip, a man in civilian clothes bashes another person with the stock of his AK-47.

Despite the sheer inhumanity of the bedlam, there are moments of hopeful humanity as Marines give fist bumps to smiling Afghans.

Marines bond in a circle as the song “Halftime” by Nas blares in the background. They pass around the camera, make silly faces, throw a pineapple at each other, and enjoy friendly bicycle races.

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