The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday blasted the Biden administration over its handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal and threatened to subpoena the US defense secretary to testify.
During the second day of a committee hearing on Afghanistan to question Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Senator Bob Menendez revealed that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin refused to testify. But Menendez said he might subpoena Austin “in the near future” if he does not step forward to testify.
While Menendez said the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan was the right move, he said the manner in which it was carried out was wrong.
The US withdrawal was “clearly fatally flawed.”
The Taliban took over within days despite US intelligence reports suggesting that the Afghan government and army would be able to fend for themselves for at least two months.
And since then, the US has refused to recognize the Taliban-run government despite ongoing communication between the militants and US officials.
Blinken and other senior US officials have said they would judge the Taliban by their actions if they wanted international legitimacy.
On Tuesday, Menendez said that the US should judge the Taliban by their actions but hit out at the delay in condemning the Taliban’s behavior, which has already been seen.
“Their actions since taking over Afghanistan have been pretty horrifying,” Menendez said, citing videos of militants separating classrooms by gender, assaulting, harassing and beating women in public and killing Afghan minorities.
Journalists have also reported being beaten and harassed by the Taliban for their coverage of protests against the group.
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