The head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken admitted in Congress that even the most pessimistic forecasts did not assume that Afghan authorities and armed forces would collapse before the US troops left Afghanistan. Blinken said the evacuation of Americans and legitimate Afghans is and will continue.
– This rescue evacuation was provoked by the collapse of Afghan security forces and the state. Throughout the year, we constantly assessed their durability and considered various scenarios. Even the most pessimistic judgments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse before the departure of the US forces, US diplomat Antony Blinken said in a statement at the beginning of the first hearing before the House of Representatives.
The US Secretary of State defended the decisions made by the US administration in Afghanistan, using arguments previously mentioned by President Joe Biden. He said, among other things, that due to the 2020 agreement with the Taliban signed under Donald Trump, there were only two options on Afghanistan: significantly increase the number of US troops in the country, exposing them to greater losses, or complete the withdrawal of troops.
He added that the State Department had accelerated the process of issuing visas to Afghan aides, “paralyzed” by the Trump administration, and warned US citizens of the dangers for months before the withdrawal of troops by offering assistance in returning home. At the same time, the chief of diplomacy thanked congressmen who privately helped the Americans and Afghans to get out of the country.
Blinken said the evacuation of Americans and legitimate Afghans is and will continue. He also announced a $ 64 million humanitarian aid to Afghans to be delivered outside the new authorities in Afghanistan. He also noted that the country may run out of food within months.
The secretary of state rejected the suggestion that America’s NATO allies had not been sufficiently consulted about the exit decision. – In the discussions and discussions we had at the time, our interlocutors shared different perspectives, but each admitted that, given the exit date set by the previous administration’s agreement with the Taliban, if they remained, Taliban attacks would have resumed not only against us but and the forces of our NATO allies, said Blinken.
Biden criticized for US actions on Afghanistan
Leading Republican in the House of Representatives Michael McCaul described the events in Afghanistan as “a complete catastrophe of epic proportions.” – It didn’t have to happen, but the president refused to listen to his own generals and the intelligence community that warned him. I’ve never expected to see unconditional surrender to the Taliban in my life, the congressman said. “Americans don’t like to lose, especially to terrorists,” he added.
As a result, Michael McCaul said the terrorist threat is now “far worse than it was before 9/11.” He added that the abandonment of some US citizens and Afghan helpers against promises was a “betrayal”.
Biden’s administration was also criticized by Democratic Party politicians. The head of the House of Foreign Affairs committee, Gregory Meeks, admitted that a “clean” exit from Afghanistan was not possible, but it could have been done better. He also drew attention to the fact that the Americans and Afghan translators of the US forces were left in Afghanistan. However, he added that the entirety of the US’s 20-year engagement in Afghanistan was “a catastrophe.”
Blinken’s first appearance before the Senate’s foreign affairs committee
Blinken explained that the US authorities do not oblige citizens to register their stay abroad, so the exact number of Americans remaining in the country was unknown until the end. Many of the people who reported to the Department of State also turned out to be non-citizens.
The diplomat also stated that much of the US military donation to the Afghan army that fell into the hands of the Taliban will soon become unusable due to the need for repair and maintenance. He also added that in the opinion of the intelligence services, al-Qaeda currently has no possibility to carry out an attack abroad.
The hearing before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee was the first in a series of planned deliberations on the events in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, Blinken will appear before the Senate’s foreign affairs committee at a meeting devoted to the same topic. The head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, will also submit explanations at a later date.
Main photo source: STRINGER / PAP / EPA