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Senate Armed Services Committee To Hold Open Hearings With Secretary Austin, Gen. Milley And Gen. McKenzie

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Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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The Senate Armed Services Committee announced Thursday it will hold open hearings on President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and is asking for sworn testimony from Secretary Lloyd Austin, Gen. Mark Milley and Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.

Republican Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, the chairman of the committee, sent out a press release with the dates of the hearings and released separate statements. The Daily Caller first reported Wednesday that a group of Senate Republicans sent a letter to Reed demanding he hold hearings on Biden’s withdrawal and asking for sworn testimony from Austin, Milley, McKenzie and Gen. Scott Miller.

The letter was signed by nine other Republicans. In it, they called on Reed to schedule committee hearings so they can examine Biden and his administration’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan after 13 U.S. service members were killed in a terror attack at the Kabul airport.

In the Thursday announcement, Reed said it is Congress’s job to provide oversight and examine what decisions were made in pulling out of Afghanistan. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Senate Republicans Demand Hearings On Afghanistan, Sworn Testimony From Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley)

“Although we have completed the withdrawal of American military personnel and over 100,000 civilians from Afghanistan, I remain deeply concerned about the events that accompanied our withdrawal and the ongoing humanitarian crisis. It is the duty of Congress—and the Senate Armed Services Committee in particular—to hold hearings to learn lessons from the situation in Afghanistan and ensure accountability at the highest levels,” Reed said.

“The Committee will hold a series of hearings to examine the factors and decisions that manifested over four presidential administrations of both political parties to shape the outcome we now face in Afghanistan,” Reed added.

The press release also listed Tuesday, Sept. 28 as the day Austin, Milley and McKenzie will testify before the committee.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, speaks during a press conference about the situation in Afghanistan on August 18, 2021, at The Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

“I’m grateful to Chairman Reed for prioritizing these critical oversight hearings on Afghanistan — the first of what I will expect to be many hearings and briefings to review and determine what happened, who should be held accountable, and how we move forward. The American people, our service members past and present, our allies and partners around the world and the Afghans who bravely helped us deserve this transparency and accountability,” Inhofe said in a statement. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans Demand Full, Unedited Transcript From Biden-Ghani Phone Call)

A number of Republicans have called on the resignation of Biden and his senior military officials. The House Freedom Caucus held a press conference in late August calling for the resignations of Biden, Austin and Milley. In the Senate, both Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn have called on Biden to resign. Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has called for Biden to be impeached.