Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) lambasted President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, labeling the operation as “flawed.”
“The events of recent days have been the culmination of a series of mistakes made by Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 20 years. For years, I have argued that the withdrawal of U.S. forces must leave a durable political settlement in place,” Menendez said in a statement.
The top Democrat placed some blame on former President Donald Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban but did not withhold criticism from the Biden White House:
The wholly inadequate agreement the Trump administration made with the Taliban did not get commitments for the Taliban to break ties with Al Qaeda, nor did it account for the day after our withdrawal. In implementing this flawed plan, I am disappointed that the Biden administration clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid U.S. withdrawal. We are now witnessing the horrifying results of many years of policy and intelligence failures.
“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will continue fulfilling its oversight role with a hearing on U.S. policy towards Afghanistan, including the Trump administration’s flawed negotiations with Taliban, and the Biden administration’s flawed execution of the U.S. withdrawal,” he added. “The Committee will seek a full accounting for these shortcomings as well as assess why the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces collapsed so quickly.”
Menendez went on to demand “answers” over the Afghan military’s failure to stop the Islamist conquest:
Congress was told repeatedly that the Afghan Defense and Security Forces were up to the task, that it had the troops, equipment and willingness to fight. To see this army dissolve so quickly after billions of dollars in U.S. support is astounding. The American and Afghan people clearly have not been told the truth about the ANDSF’s capacity and deserve answers. Finally, the Committee will examine the path forward, focused on the international response to the looming humanitarian and human rights catastrophe under a Taliban-led regime.
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