Gabbard calls for congressional inquiry over Afghanistan war report

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard on Chicago mayor's decision to limit media interviews to people of color: 'Anti-white racism' Fox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials MORE (D-Hawaii), a Democratic presidential candidate and combat veteran, is calling for a congressional inquiry following a report saying U.S. officials misled the public about their progress throughout the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.

"First of all I’m putting legislation in to call for a congressional inquiry,” Gabbard, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told Hill.TV on Tuesday. “There has to be accountability for the lying and the wasting of American taxpayer dollars."

"The cost of this war and regime change wars and the nation-building that follows is immeasurable in many ways but it's measurable in the ways that have been detailed in that Washington Post report,” she added.

The Washington Post on Monday released a cache of documents based largely on interviews with the U.S. officials who played a direct role in the Afghanistan war. The interviews were conducted by a government watchdog and obtained by the Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.

John Sopko, head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, told the newspaper that documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to” on Afghanistan.

The interviews also revealed a lack of understanding, strategy and progress in a war that was regularly described publicly as being on the brink of success.

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Ret. Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute, who served as a top adviser on the war during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

The report comes amid renewed efforts to reach a peace deal with the Taliban. Trump’s envoy for the talks met with Taliban officials in Qatar this past weekend.

The United States has an estimated 13,000 troops fighting in what has become America’s longest war. Most of the troops are focused on training Afghan forces to fight the Taliban, while a smaller number are responsible for leading counterterrorism operations against groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

Gabbard said on Tuesday that she would put an end to the war and bring all U.S. troops home within her first year if elected president.

“I’ve been calling for an end to this for so long, to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. As president, this is exactly what I would do and this a priority to get done within my first year in office,” she said.

—Tess Bonn