(Washington) US Democratic senators on Tuesday crushed the “fatally flawed” implementation of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by Joe Biden’s government, during a hearing with head of diplomacy Anthony Blinken, who is already facing heavy criticism from Republicans.
“The implementation of the US withdrawal has been clearly and fatally flawed,” Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said, calling on the government to provide “full explanations” and “hold it accountable.”
It is a damage he inherited from Trump, but it has worsened
If, like Anthony Blinken, he felt that the “chaos” that accompanied the rapid withdrawal and evacuation of tens of thousands of people at the end of August was due to former US President Donald Trump’s “surrender agreement” in 2020 with the Taliban, the influential Democratic member And the elect, Washington’s unwillingness.
In particular, the intelligence failures, which, according to the foreign minister, did not witness the collapse of the Afghan army and the rapid seizure of power by the Taliban. and the excessively bureaucratic process of granting US visas to Afghans who may face reprisals from Islamists.
Shouldn’t we start earlier? asked Bob Menendez, who also said he was “very disappointed” with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s refusal to be heard by his committee.
As on Monday before House deputies, Anthony Blinken defended his government’s decisions. He insisted several times that no one predicted that the militants could take power “in eleven days,” even before the last American soldier left.
“I don’t think that’s true,” Democratic Senator Tim Kaine replied, like many Republicans. He stressed that the “probability of collapse” of the authorities “was not 0%”.
While in the House on Monday, Democrats tempered their criticism, leaving Republicans to denounce the “bitter disaster,” Tuesday in the Senate, the Biden-Blinken duo camp made no secret of its own reservations.
“A lot of us want to know how wrong intelligence could be,” said Democratic Senator Ben Cardin. He also said that planned contingency plans had failed to guarantee access to Kabul airport for people wishing to flee Afghanistan.
Anthony Blinken explained that US intelligence estimated in February that the worst-case scenario would see the Taliban take control of the Afghan capital within two years of the US leaving. In July, faced with the advance of Islamist insurgents, the intelligence revised its forecast, warning that the Taliban could come to power before the end of 2021.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio said it was not an “intelligence failure” but a “political failure” because the government “didn’t know or didn’t want to see” what was going to happen.
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