Secretary of State Antony Blinken to testify before House Foreign Affairs Committee on Afghanistan withdrawal
Democrats on Monday emphatically defended President Biden’s hasty military withdrawal from Afghanistan during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in which Secretary of State Antony Blinken was grilled over the administration’s handling of the exit.
Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., the committee’s chairman, said ending the war in Afghanistan was “never going to be easy” and repeatedly slammed Biden’s critics over his execution of the withdrawal last month.
“Disentangling ourselves from the war in Afghanistan was never going to be easy,” Meeks said. “And for my friends who presume a clean solution for the withdrawal existed, I would welcome hearing what exactly a smooth withdrawal from a messy, chaotic, 20-year war looks like. In fact, I’ve yet to hear the clean withdrawal option, because I don’t believe one exists.”
“They are masking their displeasure with criticism but fail to offer feasible alternatives,” he said. “Once again, we are seeing domestic politics injected into foreign policy.”
Meeks also criticized former President Donald Trump for his negotiations with the Taliban during his time in office. Meeks said that in addition to Blinken, the committee should hear from former officials in Trump’s administration, as well as the Obama and Bush administrations.
In his questioning of Blinken on Monday, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., argued that there was an ongoing “stampede” last month at the Kabul airport, where the U.S. carried out its evacuation, and that “there is simply no way the administration can have an orderly or successful stampede.”
Sherman also blamed Trump for setting the original May 1 troop withdrawal date, and for cutting a deal with the Taliban last year that forced Biden to choose between withdrawing now or sending more troops into war.
“We inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan,” Blinken concurred.
Democratic Virginia Rep. Gerry Connolly also accused Republicans of being “pretty selective” in their concerns about terrorists, pointing to Trump-era negotiations with the Taliban.
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