New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Blinken pushes back on GOP criticism of Afghan withdrawal

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken pushed back Monday against harsh Republican criticism of the handling of the military withdrawal from Afghanista­n, saying the Biden administra­tion inherited a deal with the Taliban to end the war, but no plan for carrying it out.

In a sometimes contentiou­s hearing Monday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken sought to blunt complaints from angry GOP lawmakers about the administra­tion’s response to the quick collapse of the Afghan government and, more specifical­ly, the State Department’s actions to evacuate Americans and others.

Blinken echoed White House talking points blaming the Trump administra­tion for the situation that President Joe Biden inherited in Afghanista­n. “We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan,” he said, maintainin­g that the administra­tion had done the right thing in ending 20 years of war.

“We made the right decision in ending America’s longest-running war,” said Blinken, who will testify on Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Republican­s savaged the withdrawal process as “a disaster” and “a disgrace.” And while some Democrats allowed that the operation could have been handled better, many used their questions to heap criticism on former President Donald Trump.

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