The three senators are Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez, Secret Services Committee Chair Mark Warner, and Armed Forces Committee Chair Jack Reed. In a statement released Tuesday, Menendez said he was "disappointed" that the Joe Biden administration "clearly did not accurately assess the implications of a swift withdrawal." "We are now witnessing the horrific results of many years of political and intelligence failures," said the Cuban-born senator, who has maintained an independent stance on foreign policy, not hesitating to criticise some of Biden's decisions.
As chairman of the Committee on External Relations, Menendez said he will organize a Senate hearing to assess the Donald Trump administration's "failed" negotiations (2017-2021) with the Taliban, which culminated in an agreement to withdraw almost all US troops. 20 years after the 9/11 attacks. This hearing will also aim to examine the "failed" execution of this agreement by the Biden administration, added Menendez.
Senate Armed Forces Committee chairman Jack Reed also announced on Tuesday that the committee will hold hearings to see "what went wrong" in Afghanistan. Senate Secret Services Committee chairman Mark Warner said on Monday that he will work with other lawmakers to ask the "hard and necessary" questions about why the United States was not prepared to deal with the rapid advance of the Taliban and the collapse of the Afghan government. "We owe these answers to the American people and to all those who have struggled and sacrificed so much," Warner said.
The three senators' statements reflect the frustration felt in the Democratic Party over the hasty exit from Afghanistan, with images of despair at Kabul airport of Afghans trying to escape the Taliban. Joe Biden said on Monday he was "firmly" defending the decision. "After 20 years, I've learned with reluctance that it's never a good time to withdraw [US] forces," he underlined.
According to a poll released on Tuesday, US support for withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan has dropped dramatically with the Taliban's rise to power, with half of those surveyed disapproving of Joe Biden's handling of the situation. Only 49 percent of the 1999 respondents by the ‘Politico’ and ‘Morning Consult’ between 13 and 16 August supported the decision of the President of the United States to leave that country in Central Asia.
In April, when Joe Biden announced that all US soldiers were leaving Afghanistan, the approval was 69 percent. Even among Democratic voters, only 53 percent approve of Joe Biden's management of the exit from Afghanistan, numbers far from the usual popularity within the party, which tends to “sit between 70 and 80 percent”, the authors of the poll pointed out.
The Taliban conquered Kabul on Sunday, culminating an offensive that began in May, when the withdrawal of US and NATO military forces began. International forces have been in the country since 2001, as part of the offensive led by the United States against the extremist regime (1996-2001), which welcomed in its territory the leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, responsible for the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
The seizure of the capital ends a 20-year foreign military presence in Afghanistan by the United States and its NATO allies, including Portugal. Faced with the brutality and radical interpretation of Islam that marked the previous regime, the Taliban have assured Afghans that “life, property and honor” will be respected and that women will be able to study and work.