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Afghanistan crisis: Secretary of State Blinken testifies on US troop withdrawal | FULL

CA, 15 Sep 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing intended to investigate the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the decision-making leading up to the chaotic withdrawal from the country.

Blinken beat back criticism of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on Monday at a contentious congressional hearing where at least two Republicans called on him to resign.

In five hours of often testy exchanges with lawmakers, Blinken defended President Joe Biden's decision to pull out and pushed back on accusations that the State Department should have done more to help Americans and at-risk Afghans to be evacuated, blaming the previous administration for lacking a plan.

He repeatedly noted that former President Donald Trump had negotiated the withdrawal agreement with the Taliban, and said Biden's administration could not renegotiate because of threats from the group to resume killing Americans.

Members of Congress — Biden's Democrats as well as opposition Republicans — have pledged to investigate since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last month after a rapid advance.

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