Amid the barrage of criticism leveled at the US secretary of state in the face of his hasty departure from Afghanistan, Blinken defended the need to end a conflict that had lasted for almost twenty years and, although he acknowledged mistakes, he blamed the Trump Administration for not have designed an exit plan from the Asian country.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced the numerous criticisms launched from the US Congress to the management of the withdrawal of troops and citizens in Afghanistan. A very thorny issue in which the Democrat defended the need for the country to get out of one of the longest conflicts in its history.
The appearance took place in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives and in it the Republican caucus was especially incisive about the “disaster” seen in Kabul. Some of the representatives in charge of making the questions to the Democratic Secretary of State classified the American forecast and his performance as “historical shame” and even came to propose his resignation.
But Blinken defended himself by countering the Republicans with his own questions and accusing them of being responsible for signing an agreement with the Taliban that “lacked an evacuation plan.” “We inherited a deadline from the previous government, we did not inherit a plan,” declared the Secretary of State.
Almost a month after the takeover of Kabul by the radical Islamist group, the hasty departure of Americans living in Afghanistan and the last troops still weigh heavily on Joe Biden. Images seen during the weeks after Aug. 15 showed extraordinary chaos at the airport in the Afghan capital that reminded many of some of the worst passages in American history.
The basis of Blinken’s defense was rooted in the compelling need for the United States to emerge from a nearly 20-year conflict in which it had invested a large amount of money and where it had seen little results. “There is no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government more resilient or self-sufficient,” he said.
To this he added that other “strategic rivals, such as Russia and China, or enemies, such as North Korea and Iran, would welcome this war to continue for another 10 years.”
The truth is that the American attrition during the last decade in Afghanistan had been remarkable. Despite the historic investment to create a strong democratic state in this Asian nation, corruption continued to rise among the spheres of power and the Taliban increased their influence.
Self-criticism regarding withdrawal
But Blinken didn’t just charge at Republicans for what happened in Afghanistan. During the appearance in Congress, he accepted that things “could have been done differently”, alluding to the undetermined number of Afghan collaborators and people at risk that the United States was unable to evacuate in time in the two weeks in which it was executed. the operation departing from the Airport.
The Secretary of State also admitted that the United States did not intuit that the Taliban advance would be so fast, since he expected the Afghan government to withstand the military onslaught of the Islamist group for several months. Many of the criticisms made by Republicans pointed to a statement by Blinken himself in June that affirmed that “the Taliban will not take control from a Friday to a Monday,” something that did happen.
“Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that the government forces in Kabul would collapse as long as the US forces remained,” Blinken said during his appearance.
Despite the controversy, he also praised the “extraordinary effort” to evacuate more than 124,000 people in just two weeks, something that represents “one of the largest airlifts in history”, although he did not detail the number of people who were stranded in Kabul waiting for American help.
The Afghanistan episode has been one of the worst moments for the Biden Administration since it came to power in January 2021. Criticisms have splashed the president and Antoni Blinken from various sectors of society, including members of the Democratic Party itself who considered that the image given in Kabul was negative.
Although the exit from Afghanistan was negotiated by the previous Administration, led by former President Donald Trump, the need to leave the country was shared by Joe Biden. The current president considered it a “risk” to renegotiate the date of departure with the Taliban given the possible danger that this could entail for the Americans present.
With . and AP