Sunday, January 16, 2022

Senate panel to hear ‘flawed’ US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Three Democrat-led Senate committees are seeking answers from the Biden administration over its handling of the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan after the Taliban militant group took the country’s capital Kabul unopposed on Sunday.

Leaders of the Senate Intelligence, Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees issued statements this week as officials work to evacuate thousands of American citizens and Afghan allies from the country following the Taliban takeover.

President Joe Biden defended his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan in a speech on Monday. However, he acknowledged that the Afghan government fell more quickly than expected, suggesting that they lacked fighting spirit.

President Biden comments on Afghanistan
President Joe Biden comments on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House on August 16, 2021 in Washington. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

In a statement on Tuesday, Sen. Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, expressed his dismay at the events in Afghanistan, and vowed to hold a hearing on US policy towards the country.

“The events of recent times have been the culmination of a series of mistakes made by Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 20 years,” Menendez said. “We are now seeing the catastrophic consequences of many years of policy and intelligence failures.”

The committee will also investigate talks between the Trump administration and the Taliban, as well as Biden’s “erroneous execution of America’s withdrawal,” Menendez said. The senator did not announce a hearing date.

“It’s amazing to see this army disbanded so quickly after billions of dollars in US support,” Menendez said.

“The American and Afghan people have clearly not been told the truth about ANDSF’s capability and deserve answers,” he said, referring to the Afghan national defense and security forces.

Former President Donald Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw US troops by May 1 in exchange for not attacking US troops and cutting off their ties with al-Qaeda. However, in April, Biden announced revised plans to withdraw all US forces from the country by September 11.

US troops rest as Afghans wait to leave
US troops rest as Afghans wait to leave
US soldiers rest as they wait for Afghans nearby to leave Kabul Airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021. (Lawyer Kohsar/AFP via Getty Images)

Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said he and other Senate panels would work together “to ask the tough but necessary questions about why we haven’t been better prepared for this kind of worst-case scenario.” The rapid and complete collapse of the Afghan government and security forces.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (Dr.I.) also said that “what went wrong in Afghanistan” would be investigated.

Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, previously criticized the president. Statement on Friday for tearing down the former Trump administration’s efforts to negotiate a timely return with “widespread support from regional actors.”

“In Afghanistan, President Biden said he is placing his ‘belief’ in the ‘capacity of the Afghan military,’ and the result is again a shameful spectacle, a diplomatic humiliation and a national security catastrophe,” Cruz said.

The president on Saturday authorized some 6,000 additional combat troops to aid in evacuation efforts and promised a “swift and vigorous” response if the Taliban attack US troops or disrupt their evacuation operations.

“If necessary, we will defend our people from destructive force,” he said.

The Epoch Times has contacted the Biden administration for comment.

isabelle van bruggen

isabelle van bruggen

reporter

Isabel van Bruggen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. He holds a Masters in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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