US Was Ready On Afghanistan, Says Antony Blinken During Congress Grilling

US Was Ready On Afghanistan, Says Antony Blinken During Congress Grilling

US Was Ready On Afghanistan, Says Antony Blinken During Congress Grilling

Afghan disaster: Antony Blinken is going through two days of grilling by congressional committees. (File)

Washington:

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday insisted that the Biden administration had ready for worst-case situations in Afghanistan as irate lawmakers accused the White House of presiding over a historic catastrophe.

The famously even-tempered US diplomat is going through two days of grilling by congressional committees, the primary alternative by lawmakers to straight problem President Joe Biden’s administration over his finish to the 20-year battle that introduced a swift victory to the Taliban.

Blinken informed the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the Biden administration was “intensely targeted” on the security of Americans and had been “consistently assessing” the endurance of the Western-backed authorities.

“Even essentially the most pessimistic assessments didn’t predict that authorities forces in Kabul would collapse whereas US forces remained,” Blinken stated.

“Nonetheless, we deliberate and exercised a variety of contingencies,” he stated.

“The evacuation itself was a unprecedented effort — underneath essentially the most tough circumstances possible — by our diplomats, by our navy, by our intelligence professionals.”

Blinken stated that prior planning made it attainable to attract down the embassy inside 48 hours, and safe the airport and begin evacuations inside 72 hours.

The United States and its allies finally evacuated 124,000 folks out of Afghanistan, one of many largest airlifts in historical past.

The administration says solely round 100 US residents stay and that each one had been contacted repeatedly by US diplomats, with some leaving after the withdrawal in step with guarantees by the Taliban.

‘Unmitigated Disaster’

Lawmakers of the rival Republican social gathering, seeing a vulnerability for Biden, have portrayed the operation as chaotic and accused the president of abandoning Americans to the destiny of the Taliban.

“This was an unmitigated catastrophe of epic proportions,” stated Representative Mike McCaul, the highest Republican on the committee.

“I by no means thought in my lifetime that I’d see an unconditional give up to the Taliban,” he stated.

Former president Donald Trump had agreed in February 2020 to the withdrawal and Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo met the Taliban to finalize the deal, which nevertheless set circumstances for US forces to depart.

“We inherited a deadline; we didn’t inherit a plan,” Blinken stated.

But McCaul accused the Biden administration of ignoring US generals and intelligence and accused the United States of a “betrayal” of its Afghan allies.

He identified that the Taliban’s caretaker authorities consists of figures wished by the United States together with the brand new interim inside minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, whose arrest is sought by Washington on terrorism allegations.

“We are actually on the mercy of the Taliban’s reign of terror,” McCaul stated, warning of a “darkish veil of sharia legislation” because the Taliban reinstitute their draconian therapy of ladies.

Blinken stated the Taliban had violated phrases of Trump’s deal however that Biden confronted a alternative of finishing up a pullout or sending “considerably extra” US troops into hurt’s method, perpetuating America’s longest battle.

“There’s no proof that staying longer would have made the Afghan safety forces or the Afghan authorities any extra resilient or self-sustaining,” Blinken stated.

“If 20 years and lots of of billions of {dollars} in help, tools and coaching didn’t suffice, why would one other 12 months, one other 5, one other 10?”

Representative Gregory Meeks, the Democrat who led the committee, accused Republicans of getting been silent when Trump and Pompeo pursued the identical insurance policies on Afghanistan.

“Disentangling ourselves from Afghanistan was by no means going to be simple,” Meeks stated.

“I’d welcome listening to what precisely a clean withdrawal from a messy, chaotic 20-year battle appears like,” he stated. “I do not consider one exists.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)

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