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Three of the Senate’s most powerful Democrats in the last few hours asked President Joe Biden for explanations for the chaotic withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and pledged to open several investigations to find out what went wrong.
The three senators who have taken that initiative are the chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations, Bob Menendez; Intelligence, Mark Warner; and Armed Services, Jack Reed.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Menendez said he was “disappointed” that the Biden Administration “clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid withdrawal.”
“We are now witnessing the horrific results of many years of political and intelligence failures,” said Menendez, who is Cuban-born and has maintained an independent stance on foreign policy.
Reed also advanced Tuesday that the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings to understand “what went wrong” in Afghanistan.
On Monday, Warner also said that, as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he will work with other lawmakers to ask the “tough and necessary” questions about why the United States was unprepared to deal with a rapid Taliban advance and the collapse of the Afghan government.
“We owe those answers to the American people and to all those who fought and sacrificed so much,” Warner stressed.
The statements by the three senators are evidence of the frustration felt by both the Democratic and Republican parties over the precipitous exit from Afghanistan, which has left images of desperation at the Kabul airport with Afghans clambering onto planes to try to escape the Taliban.
In the political world in Washington, one of the main questions now will be to find out what went wrong in Afghanistan and, above all, whose fault it is.
The New York Times revealed on Tuesday that, while the Biden administration was downplaying the possibility of a quick Taliban victory, intelligence agencies were privately warning of the risk of a collapse of the Afghan military and government.
Indeed, the Taliban took control of Kabul on Sunday after their fighters entered the capital without encountering resistance, with almost all the provinces under their control, and after the flight of the hitherto Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani.