Blinken defends chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about climate change at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S., April 19, 2021. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via REUTERS

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended Washington’s troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying that the US wanted to make sure it was not going to have “another generation going to Afghanistan to fight and die there as we had for 20 years.”

Speaking with Jake Tapper of CNN’s State of the Union, Blinken said: “So we did the right thing.”

The incumbent US President Joe Biden was the fourth American president who had to deal with the war in Afghanistan – which in the end was the country’s longest war. 

Blinken said however that the US will look “very hard at” every aspect of the decision about the withdrawal.

“But of course, we will look very hard at everything, every aspect of the decisions that we made to make sure that we get it right every time going forward, and that everyone who was involved feels that appropriate justice has been done to the sacrifice of their loved ones,” he told CNN.

However, Biden’s critics accuse his administration of failing to manage the troops withdrawal, especially in light of the deadly suicide bombing outside Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate on August 26, 2021. Over 150 people from Afghanistan were killed along with 13 US service members in the attack.

The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Michael McCaul meanwhile said in a separate interview with CNN that he has sent letters requesting former US officials to testify before the committee about the withdrawal.

“We want to talk to Jen Psaki, The messages she was sending out from the White House were so different from what was happening on the ground. You know John Kirby made the comments that there were no weapons left behind, which is insane. You know there (are) 7 billion dollars [worth] of weapons. And I can show the types of the weapons and the cash. They were left behind. Ned Price, you know the State Department, making rosy comments… we sent letters to have them testify,” McCaul said.

While US troops withdrew, the former government collapsed and the Taliban seized control. Two years later, the world has still not acknowledged the Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan.

Since regaining control of the country, the Taliban’s actions have sparked widespread concerns and outcries, especially over its restrictive policies against women and girls.