During a fierce session of the Foreign Affairs committee of the House of Representatives, the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, defended this Monday the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the management of the evacuation carried out by the Joe Biden Administration, “a heroic effort ”From diplomats and the military, he said, despite calls for his resignation from the Republican bench and open criticism from members of both parties for the development of the operation.
“We inherit a deadline, we do not inherit any plan [de retirada]”Blinken has assured, which he declared virtually, in reference to the pact with the Taliban signed by Donald Trump in 2020, which he set as the deadline of May 1. Although Biden intends to turn the page in Afghanistan and focus on his domestic agenda as soon as possible, that of Blinken, the first senior official in the Democratic Administration to appear in Congress since the collapse of Kabul, has been the first of two consecutive appearances – this Tuesday he will do before a Senate committee – to try to neutralize criticism about the chaos that surrounded the withdrawal and about the alleged abandonment of thousands of Afghans who collaborated with his troops in the 20 years of intervention in the Central Asian country. Thanks to the gigantic airlift led by the Pentagon, and supported by the military from other Western countries, more than 124,000 people managed to leave Afghanistan in just two weeks, although there are fears for the fate of many Afghans who were left behind and are threatened by the Taliban .
“There is no evidence that a longer stay [de las tropas estadounidenses] it would have made the Afghan security forces more resilient or capable. If twenty years and hundreds of billions of dollars in support, equipment and training have not been enough, what difference would it have made to stay another year, or five, or ten? ”Asked the head of US diplomacy rhetorically. USA
This Monday’s hearing is the first in a string of attempts at scrutiny and accountability by Republican legislators, who are trying to extract electoral revenue from Joe Biden’s first major crisis in the White House, ahead of the media elections. next year’s mandate. A few Democrats also demanded explanations about the course of events in Afghanistan, especially the lack of calculation in anticipating the country’s rapid fall to the Taliban. In its allegations, Blinken has rejected criticism for what many consider a hasty withdrawal and blamed the Administration of Republican Donald Trump for delaying the processing of special visas (SIVs) granted to former interpreters and rest of collaborators of the armed forces, and their families. Thanks to this modality, instituted in Iraq, 20,000 Afghans have managed to be relocated to the United States, but a great bottleneck keeps many thousands more waiting in Afghanistan, despite the processing in third countries such as Germany.
“There had not been a single interview of an SIV applicant in Kabul in nine months, since March 2020. The program was basically at a standstill, until two weeks after taking office [el presidente Joe Biden, en enero pasado], we restarted the IMS interview process in Kabul ”, explained Blinken, according to a written copy of his intervention published by the information portal The Hill.
“We Americans don’t like to lose, much less to terrorists. But this is exactly what happened, “said Republican Michael McCaul, who asked why the Bagram air base, from which the US quietly withdrew in early July, did not remain operational, and why the Administration had not come to surveillance and counterterrorism agreements with neighboring countries. “It is a threat to national security as China advances” in Afghanistan, McCaul added, quoted by Reuters.
Democrats focused their questions on the uncertain fate of the Afghans who have remained in their country – although Washington has reiterated that it will continue to help evacuate them and that the Taliban have pledged to allow it – while they have closed ranks in defending a withdrawal. “Painful, but necessary.” “I would like to hear someone explain how to make a smooth and orderly withdrawal from a messy and chaotic war for twenty years,” said committee chairman Gregory Meeks, a Democrat.
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