Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., on Monday vowed to ask ''tough but necessary'' questions regarding the collapse of Afghanistan's government after the Taliban stormed Kabul, the capital, the night before.
''As the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I hope to work with the other committees of jurisdiction to ask tough but necessary questions about why we weren't better prepared for a worst-case scenario involving such a swift and total collapse of the Afghan government and security forces," Warner said in a statement.
"We owe those answers to the American people and to all those who served and sacrificed so much," he added.
President Joe Biden on Monday defended his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a move that led to the swift takeover of the country by the Taliban.
''I stand squarely behind my decision. After 20 years, I've learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces,'' Biden said in a speech delivered from the East Room of the White House.
''I am president of the United States of America. The buck stops with me,'' he added.
He acknowledged that the Afghan government collapsed more quickly than he expected — and suggested that those leaders had lacked the will to stand up to the Taliban.
"The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated," Biden said.
"We gave them every chance to determine their own future. We could not provide them with the will to fight for that future."
Violence erupted Monday at Kabul International Airport as Afghans tried to flee the Taliban, leaving at least seven dead.
Warner, in his statement, called the images coming out of Afghanistan "devastating" and said the "top priority" should be removing Americans and Afghan allies.
"The world must know that the United States stands by her friends in times of need, and this is one of those times. We must do everything we can to secure the airport in Kabul, restore evacuation flights, and allow our trusted Afghan partners to find safe haven in the United States or elsewhere before it is too late," he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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