Members of the Senate Armed Service Committee seek hearings on messy Afghanistan withdrawal. 

Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) are calling for hearings on what took place in Afghanistan as troops were withdrawn in what Tuberville called a “disastrous withdrawal.”

The two were joined by 8 other committee colleagues in urging the Senate Armed Service committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) to use the committee’s authority to hold such hearings in a letter.

Since sending the letter, the committee announced they would hold an initial slate of hearings to examine the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan and lessons learned from the 20-year conflict.

“Although we have completed the withdrawal of American military personnel and over 100,000 civilians from Afghanistan, I remain deeply concerned about the events that accompanied our withdrawal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis.  It is the duty of Congress—and the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular—to hold hearings to learn lessons from the situation in Afghanistan and ensure accountability at the highest levels.  The Committee will hold a series of hearings to examine the factors and decisions that manifested over four presidential administrations of both political parties to shape the outcome we now face in Afghanistan,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

You can find the schedule of the hearings HERE. 

In the letter, the Senators specifically requested sworn testimony from senior military leaders which include Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, Commander of U.S. Central Command General Frank McKenzie, Jr., and the final commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan, General A. Scott Miller.

Other Senators that signed the letter included Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Josh Hawley (R-MO).

“The American people, and in particular many of those who serve our country in uniform, are hurting, angry, and disappointed. We owe them a clear and comprehensive understanding of what happened, why, and how best to learn from these events for the future,” the Senators wrote. “We owe it to our nation, those who served, their families, and our allies and partners who fought alongside us, to preserve the records of how our fight in Afghanistan concluded. The insights we gather will help prevent future loss of American blood and treasure, a solemn responsibility and sacred trust we believe all members of our committee will seek to uphold.”

You can read the full letter below: 

Chairman Reed:

It is necessary and appropriate for Congress to examine the manner in which our military mission ended in Afghanistan. We should do so with transparency, candor, and a dedication to ascertaining the facts without regard to politics.

 We understand that in the coming months, many committees will claim the authority to ask questions regarding our military’s withdrawal. Yet, because our committee bears the special responsibility of authorizing and overseeing America’s armed forces, we acutely feel the obligation to seek answers. The American people, and in particular many of those who serve our country in uniform, are hurting, angry, and disappointed. We owe them a clear and comprehensive understanding of what happened, why, and how best to learn from these events for the future.

We write to formally request that the Senate Armed Services Committee fully exercise its oversight authority by holding both opened and closed hearings on this matter and that our committee ask the Department of Defense to preserve any and all records pertaining to the conclusion of our operations in Afghanistan.  In particular, we seek sworn testimony from Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley, General Frank McKenzie, Jr., and General A. Scott Miller.

We owe it to our nation, those who served, their families, and our allies and partners who fought alongside us, to preserve the records of how our fight in Afghanistan concluded. The insights we gather will help prevent future loss of American blood and treasure, a solemn responsibility and sacred trust we believe all members of our committee will seek to uphold.