Blinken faces another hearing about Afghanistan withdrawal

For the second day, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Tuesday confronted a barrage of questions from U.S. lawmakers about final month’s U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the makes an attempt to rescue individuals and take care of a future Taliban authorities.

Blinken, testifying earlier than the Senate Overseas Relations Committee, repeatedly defended the evacuation operation by the State Division and U.S. navy that airlifted greater than 124,000 individuals, together with nearly all 6,000 U.S. residents believed to be in Afghanistan on the time, in addition to weak Afghans.

Republicans particularly have been hammering the administration for what was a chaotic withdrawal that in the end stranded 1000’s of individuals making an attempt to flee.

“There may be not sufficient lipstick on the earth to placed on this pig,” mentioned Sen. James Risch of Idaho, the rating Republican on the committee.

Blinken famous that it was the Trump administration that struck a take care of the Islamist Taliban group that paved the way in which for its return to authorities. The Trump administration additionally all however shut down this system to challenge visas to Afghan interpreters and others the U.S. now needs to rescue. The secretary made the identical factors Monday earlier than a Home committee.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken seems earlier than the Senate Overseas Relations Committee on Tuesday.

(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Occasions)

The secretary additionally confronted questioning on how will probably be doable to take care of a Taliban-led Afghanistan authorities, which thus far has proven itself to be the identical as when it dominated the nation brutally within the 1990s, when it pressured ladies out of public view and imposed an excessive type of Islam.

“Let’s not child ourselves: There is no such thing as a such factor as a reformed Taliban,” mentioned Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the committee chair. “This group is woefully caught within the 14th century with no will to return out.”

Bestowing recognition or legitimacy on such a authorities appears not possible, he mentioned. Blinken says there are areas through which the U.S. should cooperate with the Taliban — as in eradicating individuals from the nation — however that formal recognition is a great distance off and depending on what the leaders do.

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