For the first time, a member of the Biden administration had to submit to the test of a congressional hearing on the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken passed it with constant placidity on Monday, September 13. Speaking by video, and not in the precinct of Congress not yet in session, the head of diplomacy refused any controversy, taking refuge in aseptic politeness. His Republican contemptuaries often paid more attention to outrageous adjectives than to facts and dates, which would nevertheless have made it possible to highlight the real weaknesses in the official narrative. Antony Blinken did not take up several calls for resignation launched to his address, never letting himself be dominated by emotion. On the other hand, he benefited from the constant support of the Democrats who, with rare exceptions, had chosen to focus on the responsibility of Donald Trump.
The marathon hearing did not allow new elements to emerge, but such is not the vocation of this democratic exercise, which will be renewed in the coming weeks with other advisers to the president and the Pentagon hierarchy. . The Biden administration would like to promote other topics, such as its plans to invest in education, health and infrastructure. But this is a necessary step for the executive power, which must account for these six confused and shocked months, concluded by the withdrawal of the last soldiers on August 31.
The exercise began when this sequence is not even completed. There are still a hundred Americans left in Afghanistan, many of them binational. In addition, more than 50,000 refugees will be distributed over the next few weeks in the United States, in camps set up on military bases.
In his remarks, Antony Blinken did not open the slightest space for self-criticism, unfolding the argument prized by the White House for several weeks. He places the original responsibility on the Trump administration, which concluded the Doha agreements in February 2020 with the Taliban and “Pressured the Afghan government to release 5,000 prisoners, including high ranking military leaders.” Joe Biden had no other alternative, when he took office at the end of January, than to stop the war or cause an escalation, repeated Antony Blinken. The withdrawal of American soldiers was scheduled for 1er May, under the terms of the Doha agreements. “We inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan”, summed up the Secretary of State.
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