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Senate to Investigate What Led to 'Worst-Case Scenario'

'Highest-level' Biden officials will speak at congressional hearings, Pelosi says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2021 2:44 PM CDT
House, Senate Will Investigate Afghan Debacle
Taliban fighters patrol in Wazir Akbar Khan in the city of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

(Newser) – Democratic lawmakers have largely avoided directly criticizing President Biden's administration over events in Afghanistan—but they still have a lot of questions about how the Taliban were able to seize control with stunning speed, leading to a chaotic evacuation from Kabul's airport. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner says the committee will hold hearings on why the US wasn't more prepared for a "worst-case scenario," CBS reports. Sen. Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, says the committee will investigate both the Trump administration's negotiations with the Taliban and the Biden administration's withdrawal plan. "We are now witnessing the horrifying result of many years of policy and intelligence failures," the Democrat said Tuesday, per Reuters.

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House lawmakers also plan investigations. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meek says he has asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to testify as soon as possible about the administration's Afghan policy. He says Congress needs to know more about plans to evacuate Americans, vulnerable Afghans, "and to understand our broader counterterrorism strategy in South Asia following the collapse of the Ghani government." In an interview with KPIX Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised Biden for his "decisive" action but acknowledged that the situation is in "disarray." She told the station that the "highest level" administration officials would be at a hearing early next week. "That is Congress' role, the role of oversight," she said. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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