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'Disgrace to the nation' Gold Star families blast Biden over Afghanistan

Gold Star families of the 13 US service members killed in the August 2021 bombing at Kabul airport confronted President Biden during a congressional hearing on Tuesday, demanding answers and accountability for the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.

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Schmitz called Biden a “disgrace to the nation” at the roundtable. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The families accused Biden of making a "grave mistake" in withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan, and of failing to properly plan for the Taliban's swift takeover of the country.

"You have blood on your hands," said Karilyn Kelley, the mother of Marine Staff Sgt. Jared Schmitz, who was killed in the bombing. "You are a disgrace to the nation."

Other family members echoed Kelley's criticism, calling Biden a "failure of leadership" and saying he had "abandoned" their loved ones.

Biden defended his decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, saying it was the right thing to do after 20 years of war. However, he acknowledged that the withdrawal was "not perfect" and that there were "mistakes made."

"I know that the pain of this loss is raw," Biden said. "I know that you are angry. I know that you are asking why this happened."

The families' testimony was a powerful reminder of the human cost of the Afghanistan withdrawal. The 13 service members who were killed in the bombing were all young and had their whole lives ahead of them. Their deaths were a tragedy, and their families deserve answers and accountability.

The Biden administration has said that it is committed to learning from the mistakes of the withdrawal and to doing better in the future. However, it is unclear whether the administration will be able to rebuild the trust that has been lost with the families of the fallen service members.

The Afghanistan withdrawal was a complex and challenging undertaking, and there is no doubt that mistakes were made. However, the families of the fallen service members deserve to know that their loved ones' deaths were not in vain. They deserve to know that the Biden administration is committed to preventing such a tragedy from happening again.

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