Blinken Braces for Grilling on Afghanistan in Congress

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Politics|Blinken braces for a legislature grilling connected Afghanistan.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has vowed that the United States would proceed  to unit   the Taliban to guarantee  harmless  transition  for anyone who wants to permission  Afghanistan.
Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Lara Jakes

  • Sept. 13, 2021, 1:14 p.m. ET

Congress has its archetypal accidental connected Monday to publically property President Biden’s caput of authorities connected the American withdrawal from Afghanistan, which near down respective 100 U.S. citizens and thousands of Afghan allies aft the Taliban seized power past period and 20 years of American-led efforts to stabilize the state collapsed.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee proceeding acceptable for Monday afternoon, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken is definite to constituent to the evacuations of much than 50 Americans implicit the past respective days arsenic impervious that the Biden medication volition proceed to rescue radical from Afghanistan arsenic the Taliban sets up its caller authorities successful Kabul.

Mr. Blinken apt volition besides enactment the astir $64 cardinal successful humanitarian assistance that the U.S. Agency for International Development announced Monday for alleviation agencies moving successful Afghanistan. Ninety percent of Afghans are surviving connected little than $2 each day, according to the International Rescue Committee, and the looming menace of fiscal sanctions against the Taliban could further doom Afghanistan’s economy.

But it is doubtful that volition blunt the disapproval by immoderate lawmakers who person pointed to renewed panic threats, a botched visa processing strategy and the setback of Afghan women’s rights successful demanding answers for wherefore a subject withdrawal that was 18 months successful the making turned into a deadly crisis.

“The preparations for this thing, and the nonaccomplishment of imaginativeness connected however accelerated it would hap and however implicit the illness — that’s a occupation that you person to constituent to the medication on,” James F. Jeffrey, a erstwhile ambassador who worked intimately with Mr. Blinken and different elder officials during the Obama administration, said connected Monday.

Mr. Jeffrey said the wide determination to retreat from Afghanistan “made bully sense,” successful portion due to the fact that the medication is besides grappling with a scope of much contiguous threats to the United States, similar China, Russia, clime alteration and the coronavirus. He besides suggested that the bulk of Afghans did not enactment the West’s imaginativeness for Afghanistan, oregon astatine slightest however it was being carried retired by Afghan leaders successful Kabul, and “therefore, determination was nary solution to this struggle.”

The Biden medication has pledged that diplomatic efforts volition continue, but from Doha, the superior of Qatar, and that alleged “over the horizon” strikes volition support terrorists from gaining crushed successful Afghanistan. The Taliban has agreed to garbage refuge to panic groups arsenic a information of the U.S. subject withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was brokered during the Trump administration.

However, it is widely believed that Al Qaeda’s astir elder leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is presently surviving successful Afghanistan, which means “the Taliban is harboring Al Qaeda today,” Michael J. Morell, a erstwhile lawman and acting manager of the C.I.A., told the CBS News programme “Face The Nation” connected Sunday. “I deliberation that’s a precise important point,” Mr. Morell said.

Top C.I.A. officials, including William J. Burns, the agency’s director, person acknowledged that they are looking for caller ways to cod accusation successful Afghanistan, and that their quality to stitchery accusation connected violent enactment is diminished.

Even Democrats who supported Mr. Biden’s determination to extremity the 20-year warfare person said they viewed the withdrawal with mixed feelings.

The immense fig of American citizens, ineligible U.S. imperishable residents, and Afghan allies who were not evacuated earlier the subject departed connected Aug. 30 are present susceptible to Taliban “targets connected their backs,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut.

He said the State Department had “perhaps taken much clip than was necessary” to unit the Taliban into allowing radical to permission Afghanistan connected chartered flights from Kabul and the bluish metropolis of Mazar-i-Sharif.

“We’ve mislaid clip precious time,” Mr. Blumental said connected a telephone with reporters connected Friday. “The concern of these individuals is hopeless and urgent.”

Over the past 2 weeks, Mr. Blinken and different U.S. diplomats person urged allies successful the portion to restart commercialized flights from the Kabul airport, which was badly dilapidated aft the wide evacuation efforts, truthful that radical with valid question documents could leave.

The Taliban has agreed to fto American citizens and residents depart, pursuing a barrage of negotiations with U.S. officials. But the radical has blocked Afghans — galore of whom were stranded without impervious of their employment with the American authorities erstwhile the U.S. Embassy successful Kabul closed connected Aug. 15.

Mr. Blinken has vowed that the United States would proceed to unit the Taliban to guarantee harmless transition for anyone who wants to permission Afghanistan. But the State Department has not said however it volition supply clearances for tens of thousands of Afghans who worked for the government, and truthful suffice for peculiar migrant visas.

Mr. Blinken volition person 2 days to marque the administration’s lawsuit — earlier the House sheet connected Monday and successful beforehand of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee connected Tuesday.

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