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US lawmakers to probe Biden administration over failed Afghan policy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

American lawmakers are seeking to investigate the administration of President Joe Biden over the ongoing ill-prepared withdrawal from Afghanistan that has brought about immense chaos and confusion to the country after two decades of occupation.

Congress members, including many of Biden's fellow Democrats, issued a statement Tuesday, promising to probe what went wrong in the war-torn country.

This comes after the Taliban took over the capital Kabul on Sunday and declared the war in Afghanistan was over. The militants entered the presidential palace after president Ashraf Ghani fled the country, saying he wanted to “prevent a flood of bloodshed.”

"The events of recent days have been the culmination of a series of mistakes made by Republican and Democratic administrations over the past 20 years," said Senator Bob Menendez, Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"We are now witnessing the horrifying result of many years of policy and intelligence failures," Menendez said.

Menendez said his committee was planning to hold a hearing on US policy toward Afghanistan, including negotiations held between the administration of former Republican president Donald Trump and the Taliban as well as the Biden's administration's execution of the troops withdrawal.

Meanwhile, Committee Republicans said they wanted Secretary of State Antony Blinken to testify, "to understand why the State Department was so ill prepared for the contingencies unfolding before us," according to a letter sent to Menendez.

"Updates from the State Department have been inconsistent, lacked important detail, and not be responsive to Members and the American people," the Republicans wrote.

The date of the hearing is yet to be announced.

On Monday, Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic Intelligence Committee chairman, said he wanted to work with other committees "to ask tough but necessary questions" about why the US was unprepared for the collapse of the Afghan government.

Republicans went on to harshly criticize Biden's policies. "The security and humanitarian crisis now unfolding in Afghanistan could have been avoided if you had done any planning," Republicans on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee wrote in a letter to the White House on Tuesday.

Biden approval drops to lowest of 7-month presidency after Taliban takeover

Meanwhile, a new poll shows Biden's approval rating fell by 7 percentage points and hit its lowest level so far as the Afghan government collapsed.

Just over 45 percent of American adults approved of Biden's performance in office which is the lowest recorded in weekly polls that began when he took office in January, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Monday.

It is also down from the 53% who had the same view in a similar Reuters/Ipsos poll that ran on Friday.

In a separate Ipsos snap poll carried out on Monday, fewer than half of Americans approved of the way Biden has steered the US military and diplomatic effort in Afghanistan this year.

Biden was rated worse than the other three presidents who presided over the US’ longest war.

The Taliban are poised to run Afghanistan again 20 years after they were removed from power by American forces following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 and removed the Taliban from power. American forces occupied the country for about 20 years on the pretext of fighting against the Taliban. But as the US forces left Afghanistan, the Taliban stormed into Kabul, weakened by foreign occupation.

Human remains found in landing gear of military flight from Kabul

Human remains have been found in the wheel of one of American C-17s that flew out of Kabul on Monday, the US Air Force says.

Massive groups of Afghan civilians stormed the tarmac of the airport, rushing toward the aircraft and clinging to its side, frantically trying to leave the country. Several were run over by or fell from the military plane as it flew out of Kabul.

Afghans run alongside a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 16, 2021.

"Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation around the aircraft, the C-17 crew decided to depart the airfield as quickly as possible," the US Air Force said in a statement on Tuesday.

It added that its office of Special Investigation was reviewing information about the aircraft and the "loss of civilian lives- to include video documentation and the source of social media posts."

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