Live Updates: Antony Blinken Faces Second Showdown With Congress Over Afghanistan Withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be in the hot seat once again as he testifies in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday following his hearing in the House on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan Monday.

Tony Blinken et al. standing in front of a flat screen television: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies virtually in a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee questioned Blinken about the steps President Joe Biden's administration took during the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan. © Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies virtually in a House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee questioned Blinken about the steps President Joe Biden's administration took during the withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan.

Blinken faced criticism from Republican representatives Monday for the "fatally flawed and poorly execute" mission that resulted in the death of 13 U.S. service members and left hundreds of American citizens and Afghan allies behind.

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Several members called for Blinken to resign. "That would be leadership," Republican Representative Lee Zeldin of New York said.

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Blinken defended the actions of the State Department and of President Joe Biden during the Afghanistan withdrawal that ended the U.S.'s 20-year presence in the country.

"President Biden faced the choice of ending the war or escalating it," he said, noting that Taliban forces already had a strong presence in Afghanistan when Biden took office in January 2021.

"Had he not follow through on his predecessor's commitment, attacks on our forces, as well as our allies, would have resumed," he said.

Blinken said that there was "no evidence" that staying in Afghanistan longer would have "made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining."

The Secretary and some Democratic representatives shifted blame to the Trump administration for negotiating the deal with the Taliban that released 5,00 Taliban prisoners and set the initial May 1 pull-out deadline that President Biden extended to August 31.

"We inherited a deadline; we didn't inherit a plan," Blinken told members of the Committee.

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois said during the hearing that while "the Trump administration failed in the setup," the Biden administration "absolutely failed in the execution."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing will begin at 10 a.m. ET.

This story will be updated throughout the hearing.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) wrote an op-ed defending the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, ahead of Secretary of State Antony Blinken's hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"The idea that the United States of America, a country located on the other side of the world from Kabul, could manage this unexpected collapse in a way that did not create panic and confusion, or be able to evacuate and find a home outside of the country for every Afghan that wanted to leave, is magical thinking," he said.

I hope you will read and share my opinion piece in advance of today’s Afghanistan hearing in the Senate:

“Why Biden's Afghanistan Critics Are Dangerously Wrong” https://t.co/rSwho4Akr8

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) September 14, 2021

Murphy blasted President Joe Biden's critics that boast the U.S. could have managed the mission better and denounced the dangers of "military adventurism."

He concedes that the execution of the mission "was imperfect," but said that evacuating 124,000 people "cannot, by definition, be judged as a 'failure.'"

"There are plenty of negative consequences of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, but there are plenty of positive consequences as well," Murphy said.

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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/live-updates-antony-blinken-faces-second-showdown-with-congress-over-afghanistan-withdrawal/ar-AAOqKSX

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