Republicans target secret message in Afghanistan investigation
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, seen in March 2021 during a visit to Alaska (AFP)

A congressman seeking a classified diplomatic message in connection with the messy 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan subpoenaed Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the cable on Tuesday, Axios reports.

House Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is leading a House Republican in a dispute with the State Department over the cable, which warned of Kabul’s potential collapse if American troops withdrew, the report said. The State Department cites protecting the sanctity of its secret “dissent channel” as the reason for its refusal to provide the cable.

Although the pursuit of the cable is being led by Republicans, Democrats consider the inquiry to be a serious endeavor, the report said.

Concerned diplomats in Kabul sent the cable to Washington three months after the Biden administration announced withdrawal plans and less than a month before Kabul’s collapse, the report said.

“We have made multiple good faith attempts to find common ground," McCaul said, according to the report.

"Unfortunately, Secretary Blinken has refused to provide the dissent cable and his response to the cable, forcing me to issue my first subpoena as chairman of this committee."

A State Department spokesperson said in a statement the department “followed up with the committee to reiterate its willingness to provide a briefing about the concerns raised and the challenges identified by Embassy Kabul, including in the dissent channel," the report said.

“The committee chose instead to issue a subpoena.”

If the State Department fails to comply with the subpoena, the House panel could request a full House vote requesting a federal court order to enforce it, the report said.