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Monday, January 30, 2023

Brinken faces further scrutiny due to U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Washington-On the second day the United States said it would provide nearly $64 million in new humanitarian assistance, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken pledged to continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people through UN agencies and non-governmental organizations.

On Tuesday, when the senior US diplomat testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he faced another severe challenge from lawmakers regarding the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan last month.

Brinken said that the additional funds will “meet critical health and nutrition needs, address the protection of women, children, and ethnic minorities, and help more children-including girls-return to school.”

U.S. aid bypassed the Taliban and distributed directly to Afghans, meaning that the U.S. provided nearly $330 million in aid to the Afghan people this fiscal year.

The United Nations has called for $606 million in food, medical care, shelter and other important needs for the rest of this year to help 11 million people.

With the official opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this year on Tuesday, it remains to be seen whether Taliban leaders will represent Afghanistan at this year’s international conference.

The chairman of the Senate committee, Bob Menendez, said that the idea that the Taliban would honor its promises and that the United States would expect different results was “a bit absurd.” He asked other countries not to recognize the Taliban bilaterally.

“We now know that the Taliban have no intention of taking the political path,” Senator Menendez said. “They have no intention of severing ties with Al Qaeda. It clearly has no intention of allowing women to have their rightful seats at the table and fully participate in society.”

The head Republican of the Senate panel, Idaho Senator James Risch, stated that “any country that has provided support to the Taliban in its recent offensive should risk a downgrade of its relationship strategy with the United States.”

When testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday, Brinken said he had not had a personal conversation with members of the Taliban’s leadership. He added on Tuesday that the legitimacy and support the Taliban seek from the international community will depend on their actions.

In some congressmen’s questions, the US chief diplomat also firmly defended the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 20 years.

“On the contrary, there is nothing better than strategic rivals like China and Russia — or rivals like Iran and North Korea — that want the United States to re-launch a 20-year war and get into trouble in Afghanistan for another decade,” the Secretary of State Said on Tuesday.

In mid-August, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates, where Taliban insurgents took over. In the last few days of August, the United States evacuated 124,000 people from Kabul Airport, most of them Afghans, and about 5,500 Americans, leaving about 100 Americans behind.

Document-August 18, 2021, during the evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Afghanistan, evacuees wait to board the C-17 Globemaster III. (Photo credit: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/Handout)

With the taliban’s acquiescence, some Americans were then able to leave the country via land exits or a small number of flights. But Brinken said that as of last weekend, there were still about 100 Americans staying there.

In a five-hour testimony on Monday, the Secretary of State stated that even if the Taliban were to advance across the country, US officials did not foresee that the Afghan government would collapse so quickly.

He said: “Even the most pessimistic assessment did not predict the collapse of the government forces in Kabul while the U.S. forces will still exist.”

Although the main evacuation operation has ended, the senior US diplomat said, “We will continue to work tirelessly to help any remaining Americans, Afghans, and citizens of allied and partner countries to leave Afghanistan if they wish.”

“As we have done in history, Americans now welcome families from Afghanistan into our community and help them resettle when they start a new life,” Brinken said. “This is something to be proud of.”

Opposition Republican lawmakers and some of Biden’s Democratic colleagues criticized the president’s handling of the withdrawal of troops, American citizens, and thousands of Afghans who served as translators and advisers to the U.S. military during the war.

Hundreds Of People Gathered Near A U.s. Air Force C-17 Transport Plane Near Kabul International Airport,...
On August 16, 2021, hundreds of people gathered near the U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft near Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan.

The chairman of the House Committee and New York Rep. Gregory Meeks said: “Leaving Afghanistan has never been an easy task.”

But he added that “this war should end 19 years ago” when the United States successfully ousted the Taliban and occupied the training grounds of al-Qaeda terrorists that attacked the United States in 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Rep. Michael McCall of Texas, the chief Republican of the House of Representatives panel, described the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as “an unprecedented disaster” and “betrayal” and pointed out that many of the interim officials who now control Afghanistan used to be The United States is detained at the Cuba Bay Detention Center for terrorists in Guantanamo.

Representative Steve Chabot of the Ohio Republican stated that Afghanistan “has once again become a safe haven for terrorists.”

“Yes, most Americans want to leave Afghanistan, but not so,” Chabot said, adding that the government’s actions were “a shame.”

Joe Wilson of South Carolina was one of the few Republicans who asked Blincoln to resign. Another Republican member of the group, Bryan Mast of Florida, even accused Blincol of lying when he claimed that the government manipulated intelligence. Blincol strongly denies this.

A Democratic congressman, Brad Sherman of California, accused former President Donald Trump of last year’s agreement to end May 1, 2021 as an end to the U.S. in Afghanistan without adequate planning. Deadline for military intervention. Sherman asked Brinken whether the previous US administration had left any details on how to proceed with the withdrawal.

“We inherited the deadline,” Brinken replied. “We did not inherit an exit plan.”

Republican Representative Adam Kinsinger of Illinois blamed Trump and Biden for the chaotic exit. “The Trump administration has failed in setup, and the Biden administration has failed in execution,” Kinsinger said.

Criticism of Biden’s withdrawal was particularly pronounced after 13 American soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack at Kabul Airport in the last few days of withdrawal. The Islamic State Khorasan, the Afghan branch of a terrorist organization operating in the Middle East, claims to be responsible.

National opinion polls by American voters show that there is widespread support for Biden’s decision to end what he calls the “eternal war” in Afghanistan, but does not support the way to withdraw troops.

(Ken Bredemeier and Richard Green contributed to this story.)

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World Nation News Desk
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