The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has called the Biden administration to testify about its messy withdrawal from Afghanistan next week.
The committee announced that it would hold a hearing on “examining the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan” next Tuesday, Sept. 14, to be presided over by Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
According to the announcement Secretary of State Antony Blinken is currently listed as the only witness for the testimony.
The schedule was made after Sen. Menendez pledged to seek a testimony after Afghanistan fell into the hands of the Taliban in mid-August.
“I am disappointed that the Biden administration clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a rapid U.S. withdrawal,” Menendez said at that time. “We are now witnessing the horrifying results of many years of policy and intelligence failures.”
The senator said his committee will also examine U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including the Trump administration’s negotiations with the Taliban and the Biden administration’s execution of the U.S. withdrawal.
Menendez said his committee “will seek a full accounting for these shortcomings as well as assess why the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces collapsed so quickly.”
The testimony, which is the first scheduled public hearing with the Biden administration, will be a rare inquiry into the administration’s actions by the Democratic Party. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he would have “tough questions” for the administration about the rapid fall of the Afghan government and the evacuation activities.
Sunday’s announcement of the testimony comes amid reports that at least four planes with American citizens and Afghan allies at a Afghanistan airport have been unable to leave the country for days. According to The Hill, the State Department said Sunday it did not have “reliable means” to confirm if the Taliban was stropping the planes.
In the House, the Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.) has also revealed that his committee would ask Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to testify, but a hearing has not yet been scheduled.