Antony Blinken, The US Secretary of State insisted the Biden administration had prepared for worst-case scenarios in Afghanistan, as angry lawmakers accused the White House of presiding over a historic disaster.
During the first congressional hearing on President Joe Biden’s end to the 20-year war, which brought a swift victory by the Taliban, the rival Republicans raised their voice and waved pictures of slain soldiers and occasionally demanded he resign.
Antony Blinken repeatedly noted that former president Donald Trump had set the withdrawal from Afghanistan, added that “We inherited a deadline; we did not inherit a plan,”
Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that after Trump’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban and drawdown of US troops, the Islamist movement was in the “strongest military position it had been since 9/11,” the attacks 20 years ago that prompted America s longest war.
The US Secretary of State said the Biden administration was “intensely focused” on the safety of Americans and had been “constantly assessing” how long the Western-backed government could survive, added that “Even the most pessimistic assessments did not predict that government forces in Kabul would collapse while US forces remained,”
Blinken further said that “Nonetheless, we planned and exercised a wide range of contingencies,”
He added that “The evacuation itself was an extraordinary effort — under the most difficult conditions imaginable — by our diplomats, by our military, by our intelligence professionals.”
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