On Friday, Florida Republican Cory Mills submitted a motion to impeach Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for “high crimes and misdemeanors” relating to the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan.
The Washington Examiner has obtained an exclusive copy of Mills’ bill, which claims that Austin “intentionally abandoned” American troops in Afghanistan.
“Despite having nearly 8 months as Secretary of Defense to prepare for and execute a smooth and orderly departure from Afghanistan, Secretary Austin failed to adequately prepare for such a withdrawal, including through his decisions during the catastrophic events of July and August 2021, which initially resulted in as many as 9,000 American citizens being abandoned in Afghanistan,” the bill reads.
Republicans and ex-military personnel have long faulted President Joe Biden for going against the advice of his top military advisers by planning to completely withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by August 2021.
Mills is the only member of Congress to have rescued civilians from the Taliban after the pullout; he is also a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division. Mills, a presidential candidate at the time, led the first civilian overland rescue of Americans.
“High-level officials in this administration blatantly ignored intel that Americans and our allied partners in Kabul would be left behind in harm’s way unless the U.S. corrected course in our withdrawal,” Mills said in a statement.
“It’s not enough for Congress to hold committee hearings. We must start taking real action to address the complete failure of this administration,“ Mills continued. “Tomorrow marks two years to the day that we lost 13 of our brave service members. The fact that it has been two entire years without any member of this administration being held accountable is unfathomable. That changes today.”
The thirteen American servicemen killed in Kabul due to “unnecessary deaths” are blamed on Austin in the resolution. The Taliban did not act on U.S. intelligence and launch an attack on ISIS-K members just days before the 13 militants were killed in a terrorist attack, as detailed in a new book titled Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden’s Fiasco and the American Warriors Who Fought to the End.
“In my thirty years around the United States military, I have never witnessed a Secretary of Defense more focused on putting politics over military readiness, troop welfare and our national security, than Secretary Austin,” said Chad Robichaux, a former Recon Marine who rescued more than 17,000 people following the Afghanistan 2021 withdrawal. “He, along with this administration, have destroyed parts of our military history, culture, troop morale, and most concerning, our readiness.”
Defense officials maintained at the time that despite the Taliban’s unsavory reputation, they could be trusted here since they and the United States were working toward the same goal of removing American troops from the South Asian country as quickly as possible.
At a March hearing before the House Armed Services Committee, Austin stated that he didn’t feel “regrets” about the withdrawal’s handling.
Ex-Marine Mark Geist, who helped extract over a hundred Americans from the Taliban in 2021, told the Washington Examiner that Austin “failed our troops.”
“Our troops, as well as the American public, expect leadership and guidance to be the voice for the service men and women on the ground. And Secretary Austin was not that,” Geist said.
he Pentagon told the Washington Examiner that it “does not have anything to provide” in response to questions about the impeachment efforts against Austin.