Sen. Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called for hearings at a later date to learn about what went wrong in Afghanistan but said the focus should now be on evacuations.
The Rhode Island Democrat issued a statement late Monday that said the hearings should take place at the appropriate time. He said the focus at the moment should be squarely on “safely evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghans who aided us.”
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President Biden gave a speech earlier Monday and suggested that the withdrawal debacle was the result of the peace deal he inherited from former President Trump. He also placed some blame on the Afghan army for lacking the “will to fight.” The U.S. has been in the country for nearly two decades and the swift fall of Kabul raised new questions about the effort.
Afghanistan erupted into disarray as the Taliban swept across the country in recent days, taking the capital of Kabul this weekend as the United States has been attempting to withdraw its forces, diplomats, allies and Afghans who worked with the coalition over the course of the 20-year war.
Reed said in his statement that he is “deeply concerned” about the humanitarian crisis in the country. His statement also offered up some of his early theories about what went wrong.
He pointed to a “disastrous pivot to a war of choice in Iraq, a failure to have an effective policy to deal with a duplicitous Pakistan, a failure of mission creep from counter-terrorism; and a lack of ability to build an effective Afghan government and security forces.”
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“These failures were compounded by the failures of the Doha agreement by President Trump which won the United States very little, and failures of intelligence, diplomacy and a lack of imagination as we transitioned military forces from the country,” he said. “This is not a Democratic or a Republican problem. These failures have been manifesting over four presidential administrations of both political parties.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report