Secretary of State Antony Blinken returns to Capitol Hill Tuesday for a second day of questioning in regards to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as he faces the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee in the future after showing earlier than members of the House.
Blinken is predicted to face more grilling from Republicans on points together with the decision-making behind the American army withdrawal and people nonetheless remaining in Afghanistan searching for evacuation when he sits for the listening to, which is about to start at 10 a.m. Eastern. The secretary gave a tough estimate of what number of U.S. residents are nonetheless stranded in Afghanistan when he confronted the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday.
BLINKEN ACKNOWLEDGES AMERICANS STILL STRANDED IN AFGHANISTAN 2 WEEKS AFTER WITHDRAWAL
“So as of the tip of final week, we had about 100 American residents in Afghanistan who instructed us that they need to depart the nation,” Blinken stated. “And I need to emphasize that this can be a snapshot in time. It’s more precisely a shifting image, as you recognize, stepping again for a minute to know exactly at any given second of time precisely what number of American residents are in any nation.”
The secretary of state additionally acknowledged that the Taliban is stopping constitution flights in Afghanistan from leaving. “There have been constitution flights which have been there for a while, that haven’t been allowed to depart,” Blinken stated.
Monday featured a lot of tense moments as three Republicans – Reps. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., and Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – referred to as on Blinken to resign.
Blinken was pressed on a Reuters report that President Biden had requested then-Afghan president Ashraf Ghani in a phone name “to challenge a special image” of the battle towards the Taliban – which was being seen as a shedding effort – “whether or not it’s true or not.”
The secretary declined to weigh in, stating that he was “not commenting on any purportedly leaked transcripts.”
At one other level on Monday, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, requested Blinken if Russian President Vladimir Putin “threatened” Biden towards creating intelligence capabilities close to Afghanistan.
BLINKEN HEARING: DEMOCRATS RUSH TO DEFEND BIDEN’S DEADLY AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL
Blinken admitted that was “an essential query” however stated it had to be addressed “in one other setting.”
A lot of Democrats defended the Biden administration towards claims that the issues with the withdrawal have been the fault of the present White House.
“Disentangling ourselves from the battle in Afghanistan was by no means going to be simple,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., stated. “And for my associates who presume a clear resolution for the withdrawal existed, I might welcome listening to what precisely a clean withdrawal from a messy, chaotic, 20-year battle seems to be like. In reality, I’ve but to hear the clear withdrawal choice, as a result of I don’t consider one exists.”
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Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., additionally defended the administration, arguing that there was an ongoing “stampede” final month on the Kabul airport the place the U.S. carried out its evacuation and that “there’s merely no method the administration can have an orderly or profitable stampede.”
Blinken himself positioned blame on former President Trump, who had negotiated a cope with the Taliban that set the stage for the U.S. withdrawal.
“We inherited a deadline, we didn’t inherit a plan,” Blinken stated.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar, Peter Hasson and Houston Keene contributed to this report.