- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2021

The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearing on the disaster in Afghanistan will begin early next week with testimony from “the highest level” administration officials, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“That is Congress’s role, the role of oversight, and that will take place early next week — at least it will begin then,” the California Democrat told KPIX in San Francisco late Tuesday.

Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks, New York Democrat, has asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to testify about the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal “as soon as possible.”

Senate Democrats also plan to hold hearings on the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, and the hasty evacuation of Americans and allies from the airport.

The collapse is the biggest foreign policy crisis in President Biden’s seven-month tenure. It has seriously undermined his claim, long challenged by his critics, to be a foreign policy expert.

Mrs. Pelosi said the president took the right course in pulling all U.S. troops out of the 20-year war in Afghanistan.

“I commend the president for the action that he took — it was strong, it was decisive, and it was the right thing to do,” she said. “We should have been out of Afghanistan a while back. Unfortunately, one of the possibilities was that [the withdrawal] would be in disarray, as it is, but that has to be corrected.”

Asked about the trove of U.S. military hardware that has fallen into the hands of the Taliban, Mrs. Pelosi replied, “This is what happens when you withdraw — some stuff, some equipment, is left there.”

“It was hoped that it would be used by the Afghan military to defend its own country,” she said. “The fact that it did not and could not was all the more the reason for us to leave.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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