U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies virtually during a House of Representatives foreign affairs committee on Capitol Hill September 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.
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WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a controversial congressional hearing on Monday that the Taliban are the de facto government of Afghanistan, a statement that clearly marks the end of Western efforts to build a stable democracy in this country. war-weary country.
“This [the Taliban] The de facto government of Afghanistan. These are just facts, ”Blinken told the House foreign affairs committee on whether the administration recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government.
“It is the product, alas, of a party gaining the upper hand in a civil war,” said the country’s top diplomat.
During the three-hour hearing, Blinken defended the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the Biden administration. At least three Republican lawmakers told him during the hearing that he should step down.
“We made the right decision to end America’s longest war,” Blinken said in an emotional response.
“We made the right decision not to send a third generation of Americans to Afghanistan to fight and die. We did the right thing for our fellow citizens and we did the right thing by getting everyone out. We did what it took for 125,000 Afghans, but to keep them safe, and we are now working to do what it takes to ensure that the Taliban live up to the expectations of the international community and that people can continue to travel freely. So that the rights of Afghans are respected. .
President Gregory Meeks (D-NY) (II-L) speaks during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Capitol Hill September 13, 2021 in Washington, DC .
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Earlier this month, reporters lobbied Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin over whether the United States would recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.
“It is difficult to predict where this will go in the future with regard to the Taliban,” Austin said at a press briefing on September 1.
“We don’t know what the future holds for the Taliban,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said with Austin.
“I can tell you from personal experience that this is a brutal group from the past and whether or not it changes remains to be seen,” Milley said. He and Austin both fought the group during their military careers.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley attend a press conference at the Pentagon July 21, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
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The United States launched its war in Afghanistan in October 2001, a few weeks after the September 11 attacks. The Taliban then provided asylum to al Qaeda, the group that planned and carried out devastating terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the World Trade Center. Pentagon.
Since then, nearly 2,500 US servicemen have been killed in the conflict, which has also claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Afghan soldiers, police and civilians.
Now the Taliban are in power again.
In the last few weeks of the planned exodus of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban have achieved astonishing success on the battlefield. On August 15, the group seized the presidential palace in Kabul, prompting Western governments to speed up efforts to evacuate civilians, diplomats and Afghan civilians at risk.
After the Taliban takeover, President Joe Biden defended his decision that the United States would leave the war-torn country.
A day after Afghanistan was killed by the Taliban, Biden said, “I completely support my decision. After 20 years, I learned the hard way that there was no right time to withdraw American forces.
“American soldiers cannot and must not die in a war that Afghan forces do not want to wage for themselves,” Biden said. “We gave them every chance to determine their future. We couldn’t give them the will to fight for that future. “
Biden ordered that thousands of US troops be stationed in Kabul to help with the heavy manned airlift and secure the perimeter of the airport.
During the last week of evacuation efforts, terrorists from the ISIS-K group killed 13 US servicemen and dozens of Afghans in an attack outside the airport. To thwart further attacks, the US military retaliated and launched attacks.
The US military mission in Afghanistan ended on August 31 after the evacuation of approximately 125,000 people from the country. Of that total, approximately 6,000 were US citizens and their families.
Blinken told lawmakers on Monday that fewer than 100 Americans remained in Afghanistan to evacuate people.