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Tuberville leads GOP Senate Armed Service Committee members in calling for hearings on Afghanistan

U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) on Wednesday led his fellow Republican Senate Armed Service Committee (SASC) colleagues in calling for hearings related to the fallout of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The letter, which was sent to committee chairman Jack Reed (D-RI), requests that senior military leaders provide sworn testimony to the committee and answer members’ questions regarding the turmoil stemming from the Biden administration’s exit strategy.

Committee members that signed onto the Tuberville-led letter are Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS), 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 letter reads as follows:

    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.

Senior defense officials the senators are requesting to testify before the committee include Secretary of Defense 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.

The Biden administration and top military leadership have come under fire of late due to the chaos that has engulfed Afghanistan following the end of U.S. occupation.

Criticism intensified after the Pentagon failed to successfully evacuate all Americans from Afghanistan prior to the withdrawal, leaving hundreds of U.S. citizens stranded in the now Taliban-controlled country. Another issue Republicans seek to address is how vast amounts of American-made equipment and weaponry, which has been valued to be worth billions of dollars, fell into the hands of Islamic extremists.

Tuberville, just months into his service as Alabama’s freshman senator, has placed priority on military-related issues as evidenced by his leading fellow Republican colleagues in demanding accountability over what many see as a strategic failure on behalf of the commander-in-chief.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL