After Biden administration officials did not attend the congressional hearing, a Democratic senator proposed on Tuesday to issue a subpoena to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Austin did not attend the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing in Washington, which triggered criticism from the top Democrats and Republicans in the panel.
“I am very disappointed that Secretary Austin rejected our request to testify today,” Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), the chairman of the panel, said in his opening statement.
“Without the Pentagon, a comprehensive explanation of the U.S. response to the crisis would be incomplete, especially when we understand that the Afghan army trained and funded by the U.S. has completely collapsed. His decision not to attend will affect my personal judgment of the nominee for the Department of Defense. I hope the secretary can ask the committee for help in the future. If he does not do so, I may consider using the power of the committee’s subpoenas to force him and others to testify,” he added.
Republican Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) on the committee also noticed Austin’s absence.
Risch welcomed Secretary of State Anthony Brinken and told him to answer the questions raised by the group to “do the right thing.”
“But, like the chairman, I am disappointed that some of your colleagues refuse to testify, especially Secretary Austin. There are some questions we really need to answer, and their refusal to testify is frustrating,” he said.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told The Epoch Times in an email that Austin had “contradictory promises” that prevented him from appearing before the Senate panel.
“The Secretary of State thanked Chairman Menedez for his interest in allowing him to attend today, and regrets that the conflicting commitments made such an attendance impractical. He respects the oversight role of Congress very much, and he looks forward to testifying before the Senate and House Armed Services Committees at the end of this month. ,” Kirby said.
Austin and two senior American generals are scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28. The House Armed Services Committee does not currently schedule any hearings.
Neither Austin nor the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milly have appeared before Congress since the terrible withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
Although both members described it as a failure, both sides defended what happened.
Menendez said on Tuesday that the withdrawal “has obvious and fatal flaws.” Risch described it as “a bleak failure.”
Brinken testified that the withdrawal process went smoothly until the US-backed Afghan army failed to recapture the country from the Taliban, which triggered a 17-day frantic withdrawal, which eventually resulted in at least 150 Americans being trapped there.
“Even the most pessimistic assessment did not predict the collapse of the government forces in Kabul, while the U.S. forces still exist. They are concerned about what will happen after the U.S. withdraws from September. As General Milly said, I or anyone else There are no signs of the collapse of this army and this government within 11 days,” Brinken said.
He called the evacuation an “extraordinary effort” and praised the 13 US troops who died in the terrorist attack by the Islamic State at the US-controlled airport in Kabul as heroes.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times