Editor’s Note: U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) questions witnesses during the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, excoriated the Biden Administration for its failures during the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. Barr read into the Congressional record a letter he received from a U.S. Marine Corps veteran in the Sixth District who was serving on the ground during the Afghanistan withdrawal. At the veteran’s request, his name is redacted. The full letter is below:
“I was in Afghanistan from August 17, 2021, to August 31, 2021, for the evacuation of Kabul. Our mission was to evacuate as many Afghans as possible, primarily US citizens and NATO allies. I was an infantry machine guns leader. Our company was running security operations at the north gate of Hamed Karzai International Airport (HKIA); within my first two hours at the gate, I saw Afghan soldiers shooting civilians as a warning for the other civilians to stop trying to overrun our security position. Our main orders were to keep the Afghani civilians under control because the threat of a suicide bomber was very high. The Taliban would drive by our gate and dump dead civilians out of the back of their trucks to scare the civilians and make them try to rush us.
“We would have to fight with men, women, and children with non-lethal weapons, firing warnings, shots from our weapons, and hand-to-hand fighting all day long. I watched men step on and kill children to get entry to the airport. I watched women throw their dead children into a sewage canal, where we would also take dead civilians who would die due to injuries sustained by the Taliban or other Afghans. A woman handed me her dead infant and asked me to help, but I couldn’t. Our chain of command directed us to throw flash-bang grenades at the civilians to calm them down, and none of us had ever used flash bangs before; when we threw them at the people, they would go off next to people’s heads or other vital areas and unintentionally harm or even kill them. I particularly feel responsible for the deaths of some of the civilians.
“My fellow Marines and I were in charge of kicking out/turning away desperate civilians who didn’t have the proper paperwork. Men, women, and even children would beg my fellow Marines and me to kill them. I had to inform an Afghani man with his wife, baby, and multiple children that he had to leave. He grabbed my rifle and begged me to kill him and his family because his entire family would be raped and burned alive by the Taliban when I threw him out. I did everything I could to get them through, but my command told me to kick them out, and we had to fight his entire family to get them out while the children begged for their lives. Instances like this happened all day, every day.
“I hit an older man in the head with a baton on accident, and I saw his head dent and his eyes roll back. I saw a woman get shot in the chest about 10 yards away. I had to fight through the crowd and defend her while our Navy Corpsman gave her medical aid, her crying children were on top of her, and I was beating people back to make space. A man ran up to me, saying it was his sister, and I was so angry that I threw this man and jumped on top of him, and I was about to hurt him until someone stopped me. Civilians like this man would try to pretend they were the family of someone injured, and they were desperate for understandable reasons.
“There are many other events that I could talk about after coming home. I feel ashamed for some of the orders I carried out. I have a hard time being around children crying being in large crowds. It’s been over a year, and I can’t help but think about everything happening there every day. It has been hard for me to deal with the fact our countries leadership allowed the Taliban to support our operations, knowing full well they were our enemy. Since returning home, I have found making friends or relating to anyone challenging.”