WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-21) today announced Steve Nikoui will be his guest to the State of the Union.  Steve is the father of Marine Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, who was one of the 13 U.S. servicemembers killed in the terrorist attack at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport during President Biden’s catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.

“Joe Biden has been trying to turn the page on Afghanistan after his incompetence cost American lives, but not on my watch,” Rep. Mast said.  “For the last three years, Joe Biden has done nothing but tried to deflect blame as terrorists have taken hold of Afghanistan, repressed women, and killed those who supported America.  I will continue to call out President Biden to remind him of the damage he has done to national security and American families.”

After his graduation from high school in 2019, LCpl. Nikoui joined the Marine Corps where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines unit stationed at Camp Pendleton.  As a member of that unit, LCpl. Nikoui was deployed to Afghanistan where he participated in Operation Allies Refuge to evacuate U.S. citizens, American allies and others at risk.  Lance Cpl. Nikoui was killed in action–along with 10 other Marines, one Army soldier and one Navy corpsman–on August 26, 2021 during the chaotic withdrawal.

On August 9, 2022, just a few weeks before the first anniversary of LCpl. Kareem Nikoui’s death, his brother took his own life near the park where he played with the fallen Marine as a child and across the street from the permanent veteran’s memorial.

Steve Nikoui and his wife, Shana Chappell, have been vocal critics of President Biden’s decisions leading up to the deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan.


President Joe Biden made a promise to “end the forever war,” but failed to make any preparations in the 207 days between his inauguration and the day evacuations began.  In fact, leaked documents showed that the National Security Council did not conduct its first senior meeting to discuss the withdrawal until the afternoon of August 14, 2021.

The consequences of this failure were catastrophic:

While serving in the U.S. Army, Rep. Mast was deployed in Afghanistan, where he worked as a bomb disposal expert under the elite Joint Special Operations Command.  In 2010, the last improvised explosive device that he found resulted in the loss of his legs and a finger.  In Congress, he has been an active advocate for other Afghanistan War veterans and a vocal critic of President Biden’s mishandling of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

At the start of 118th Congress, he was selected to lead the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Accountability and Oversight.  In that role, he chaired committee hearings highlighting the Biden Administration’s actions leading up to the Taliban takeover and its failure to plan for the withdrawal, as well as a roundtable on the Taliban’s retaliations on Afghan allies.