US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan against sharp criticism from two parliamentary committees, on Monday in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday in the Senate.
Blinken said at a hearing in the US House of Representatives on Monday that the Democratic president faced the choice of withdrawing troops or escalating the war against the Taliban. The senior Republican on the Chamber of Foreign Affairs Committee, Michael McCaul, said:
“It was a catastrophe of epic proportions.”
He never thought that he would experience an “unconditional surrender” to the militant Islamist Taliban.
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Blinken once again blamed the government of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, for the chaos during the withdrawal. The foreign minister pointed out that Trump’s government had already agreed with the Taliban to withdraw all US troops by May 1, and criticized the fact that there had been no plans for this. “We have inherited a deadline. We have not inherited a plan.” Regarding the US arms captured by the Taliban, he said they had “no great strategic value”. Either they are no longer operational or they will soon be due to a lack of maintenance.
Blinken said at the end of last week his ministry had knowledge of around 100 US citizens in Afghanistan who wanted to leave the country. The government supports them in this.
The military evacuation mission ended at the end of last month with the withdrawal of the last US soldiers. After almost 20 years, this also applied to international military operations. In the middle of last month, the Taliban had regained power in Kabul.
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(rt / dpa)