DENVER (CBS4)– Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation are among those calling for investigations into the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. They want to know, among other things, why the administration was caught so off guard by the takeover and what intelligence they had and when they had it.
“Americans want answers. Coloradans want answers. I want answers,” said Rep. Jason Crow, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan.READ MORE: C-130 Makes History By Landing On Highway 287 In Wyoming
He’s been calling for evacuations for months. The White House and intelligence community are pointing fingers at each other over who’s to blame.
“We have to make sure that we’re not to jump to conclusions, that we’re not trying to have a predetermined outcome… the United States Congress has an independent obligation to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch,” says Crow.
He secured an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act requiring “in-depth reports and briefings on Afghanistan” to Congress going forward.
He says the mission isn’t complete until Americans and our Afghan partners are out, “We have to bring full leverage, full diplomatic pressure on the Taliban and our allies.”
Congressman Ken Buck says it’s unclear how much leverage the U.S. still has, “This was botched, it was botched from the beginning.”READ MORE: Reservations Still Needed To Take In Colorado's Fall Beauty At Maroon Bells Near Aspen
Buck sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Crow sits on the House Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.
Any of the three committees could head up the investigation or, Buck says, a special committee may be convened, “It is absolutely essential that we learn what’s going on and what happened and how we can do it better so that as we move forward in the future, there will be another attack on our homeland and we will have to respond.”
Congressman Ed Perlmutter agrees that mistakes were made but, he and Crow say, they came over the course of many years and administrations, “I think we do have to go back and do some after-action reports to see what actually happened and why it didn’t happen better.”
Crow says there needs to be a review of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan over the last two decades, not just the last two weeks.
Sen. Michael Bennet, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he will “ask hard questions” about what we could have done better. Both he and Senator John Hickenlooper are also calling on the administration to finish the evacuations.MORE NEWS: Denver DA: Officers Justified In Shooting Death Of Cedric Vick After Carjacking, Chase And Crash
All five members of the Colorado delegation praised the military. Crow says they evacuated 120,000 people in two weeks from a combat zone. More than 20,000 Afghans are already in the U.S. An estimated 40,000 more are at bases overseas and could soon be on their way here. The federal government is building capacity at eight U.S. military bases to help temporarily house the evacuees.