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Friday, February 3, 2023

Chief Executive Biden faces bipartisan criticism of Afghanistan at Brinken Senate hearing

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Anthony Brinken appeared before Congress for the second time this week—this time speaking before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. On Monday, as Democrats and Republicans filed charges against rival party governments, Brinken’s appearance on the House Foreign Affairs Committee became fierce. Although the debate in the House of Lords is relatively calm, they have fully demonstrated their fundamental differences on whether the responsibility for the crisis should be attributed to former President Donald Trump or current President Joe Biden.

Brinken defends the Biden administration

In the same prepared speech to the House of Representatives on Monday, Brinken defended the Biden administration’s actions in Afghanistan.

He first said that the United States had two main goals in first entering Afghanistan: “to bring justice to Al Qaeda” because of its role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to ensure that the country cannot be used as a starting point for another similar terrorist attack. Blinken said these goals were “achieved a long time ago.”

Despite this, Brinken said that the current government feels compelled to abide by the agreement reached between Trump and the Taliban. When Biden took office and inherited the deal, he had two options, Brinken said: “End the war or escalate the war.”

Here, Brinken is referring to the 2020 agreement between Trump and the Taliban, which could have fulfilled one of the president’s campaign promises to free the country from war.

The former president has been severely criticizing Biden’s handling of the withdrawal. When discussing this situation, Trump has always been open to the agreement he and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reached with the Taliban, but still insists that the agreement will rely on the Taliban to meet several conditions, and his government will handle the situation. Are not the same.

Brinken then pointed out the government’s success during the crisis.

He said that in March, a few weeks after Biden took office, the State Department told Americans to leave the country and expressed willingness to help them do so. He claimed that at the same time, the government was working to speed up the processing of special immigrant visas (SIV), which is a generally long and arduous process under current laws; he added that the Trump administration has done very little in this regard.

Brinken repeated a saying he often said, saying that the rapid decline of the country’s political and military situation is beyond everyone’s expectations. Blinken said that “even the most pessimistic prediction” did not herald such a rapid collapse.

Democrats criticize the Biden administration

The hearing began with a speech by Senator Bob Menendez (DN.J.), the chairman of the committee. After the Taliban occupied Kabul, Menendez immediately promised that the committee would investigate U.S. policy toward Afghanistan after the U.S. returned from the August recess.

Although he is roughly the same as Biden politically, Menendez criticized Afghanistan’s fiasco in his opening remarks. Menendez pointed out that “the implementation of the U.S. withdrawal clearly has fatal flaws.” Regarding these flaws, Menendez said that Brinken, who represents the government, must fully explain Biden’s decision to Congress.

Menendez said that the country’s rapid collapse showed him that “the successive government lied to Congress on matters in Afghanistan”.

When talking about reports that the Biden administration is seeking to establish diplomatic relations with the Taliban terrorist organization, Menendez exclaimed “there is no such thing as a reformed Taliban.”He went on to say that the strict Islamic organization “was trapped in the 14th century and rejected[s] Want to come out. “

Menendez further rejected the idea of ​​establishing diplomatic relations with terrorist organizations, believing that the government should maintain the existing sanctions against the country, but should also provide humanitarian assistance to the world’s poorest citizens.

Menendez said that if the government is to pursue these relationships and recognize the Taliban as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan, then the organization must meet several conditions before considering a positive relationship. Among these conditions, Menendez listed the complete abandonment of terrorist harbouring, the protection of the rights of women and minorities, the abandonment of the drug trade as a form of national profit, and the establishment of a truly democratic and inclusive government.

Menendez said the information Congress received from the Biden White House was “vague and contradictory.”

Later, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.) opened the opening saying that she “shared[d] Frustrated [her] colleague. “

But like many Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives, Shaheen expressed a feeling that the responsibility lies not solely with Biden, but with Trump and former Presidents Barack Obama and George Bush. She said that Afghanistan’s collapse came from “Democratic and Republican governments”.

She criticized the Republican Party for preventing Congress from bringing more Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants to the United States under Trump’s guidance. She said, “There are many regrets and many accusations.”

Towards the end of the hearing, Hillary Clinton’s former running mate and moderate Senator Tim Kane (D-Va.) also expressed some doubts about the way the government handled the matter.

Kane criticized Brinken’s statement that the “most pessimistic prediction” did not show that Afghanistan would collapse so quickly. Kane said, “I don’t believe this.” He admitted that this negative assessment may not be the opinion of the majority. , But it is very unlikely that any analyst has foreseen them.

On the other hand, Kane said that despite the problems with the withdrawal of troops, he believed that leaving the country and ending the longest war in the United States was the right choice for the Biden administration.

Kane said: “I am relieved that the children born in New Fairfax today are not in a war country.” Biden, Kane continued, “Have the courage to say,’This country should not be at war forever. state.'”

Nevertheless, although some Democrats admitted that Biden took some responsibilities and made mistakes when carrying out the withdrawal, almost everyone agreed that Trump was also very responsible for this situation.

Republicans launch an offensive against “strategic unforced errors”

While Democrats have tried to blame the Trump-era deal with the Taliban for the unpopular fiasco, Republicans have criticized the current administration far more.

The ranked minority Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) first spoke on behalf of the Republicans.

Like many other Republicans throughout the hearing, Risch admitted that he supported the end of the war in Afghanistan, but did not support the way the Biden administration carried out the logistics of ending the war.

Risch said that the improper handling of the US military withdrawal is a “strategic and unforced error” with serious consequences. Among them, Risch warned that the withdrawal and return of the Taliban “provides a safe haven for terrorists.” In addition, Risch stated that the confidence of US allies in the country has been “destroyed.”

Risch made it clear that he believes that the blame should be solely on the current President Biden, rather than being pushed on Trump. He asserted that “the preventable tragedy that occurred at the Kabul Airport was a disaster caused by the leadership and the government itself.” He further emphasized that “only the Biden government is responsible for this collapse and its consequences.”

Later, Senator Marcio Rubio (R-Fla.) expressed concern about the government’s lack of preparation for the country’s rapid collapse.

He mentioned several evaluations he saw, indicating that “it will hit fans.” Rubio continued, through these assessments, “we have every reason to prepare for the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and army.”

Rubio accused Biden of relying on “naively optimistic forecasts” to advance his plan to leave the country before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. “Either someone didn’t see this, or someone didn’t want to see this,” Rubio ruled.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also added that Brinken and Biden described the situation as a “great success” rather than an “extreme failure”, indicating a serious “different from reality.” Senator John Barasso (R-Wyo.) commented on the same subject that this positive rotation of the crisis is “a lie of the 21st century” and a “delusion.”

Barrasso also added to Blinken, “You patted yourself on the back because you almost broke your shoulder because of the excellent work you did.”

Rand Paul and Brinken heat exchange

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has long opposed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, pointed out that he is happy that the 20-year conflict is over. However, he continued, “In my worst nightmare,” a government was “absolutely incompetent” to leave billions of dollars in military equipment to the Taliban.

Paul said another example of this “great incompetence” is the sudden decision to abandon Bagram Airport without warning. He called it “one of the worst military decisions in our history” and warned Brinken “will be remembered by the people.”

Paul also cited a report in the New York Times, stating that a rescuer was mistaken for an ISIS-K agent carrying a bomb and was hit by a missile, resulting in his death. When Paul asked Brinken the truth about this story, Brinken declined to comment, saying only that the State Department was investigating the situation.

“Before using the Predator missile, you would think you would know” whether this person is an aid worker or an ISIS-K terrorist, Paul quipped.

Paul often opposes such indiscriminate bombings. He warned that if the report is true and an aid worker is killed, the government may “create hundreds of new terrorists.”

Instead, Paul suggested that the government should focus on bombing leftover helicopters and other military equipment, rather than bombing unidentified people.

Joseph Lord is a congressional reporter for The Epoch Times, focusing on the Democratic Party. He received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Clemson University and is a scholar of the Lyceum project.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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