KABUL (Pajhwok): US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will testify next week before a Senate panel about America’s botched pullout from Afghanistan.
The officials will testify in private at the event the Senate’s Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees have scheduled for January 11, Sputnik reported on Thursday.
Like several other leading administration officials, Austin and Blinken have already testified before the two Senate panels after the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 31, 2021.
Austin came under fire for his failure to appear before a panel September 14, when Blinken testified. But the Pentagon chief testified at another hearing two weeks later.
Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee on September 28: “The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away, in many cases without firing a shot, took us all by surprise.”
He said they did not fully understand the depth of corruption and poor leadership of Afghan forces we didn’t grasp the damaging effect of frequent rotations by ex-president Ashraf Ghani of his commanders.
Austin added: “We did not anticipate the snowball effect caused by the deals that the Taliban commanders struck with local leaders.”