US Republican senators have called on Congress to press senior Pentagon officials to testify about Washington’s chaotic withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.
In a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, nine committee Republicans said they “acutely feel the obligation to seek answers” about how 20 years of war “in Afghanistan concluded.”
They said the chaotic pullout left Americans and service members in particular “hurting, angry, and disappointed.”
The committee “bears the special responsibility of authorizing and overseeing America’s armed forces,” read the letter.
“The insights we gather will help prevent future loss of American blood and treasure, a solemn responsibility and sacred trust we believe all members of our committee will seek to uphold,” it added.
During a press briefing last week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that the Pentagon would review the war’s end and learn from it.
Republicans are now requesting testimony from Austin himself, as well as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mark Milley, US Central Command Commander Kenneth McKenzie, and Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan “Scott” Miller.
Senators have also urged Congress to press the Pentagon to preserve all records related to the drawdown of the war in Afghanistan.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. While the invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country back then, it is now ended with the return of the group to power.
The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15; weeks after they intensified offensives and rapidly overran major cities across the country as the US started the withdrawal in early May.
US President Joe Biden, however, defended his administration’s handling of the hasty withdrawal and evacuation of US citizen from Afghanistan, saying, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit.”
Last week, 26 Senate Republicans sent a letter to the White House asking for explanation about “the arbitrary and poorly-planned method… [that] caused this crisis.”
After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, senator Reed said his committee would “hold hearings on what went wrong in Afghanistan and lessons learned to avoid repeating those mistakes.”