The US was surprised when the Afghan government collapsed

Foreign Minister Blinken said the rapid collapse of Ghani’s government was unexpected when he testified about the evacuation from Afghanistan.

“We focus on the safety of American citizens and constantly assess how long the Western-backed government will last. Even the most pessimistic estimates cannot predict government forces in the country. Kabul will collapse as long as American troops are still there,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a hearing before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 13.

US soldiers at a guard post at Kabul airport on August 20.  Photo: AFP.

US soldiers at a guard post at Kabul airport on August 20. Photo: AFP.

This is Blinken’s first congressional hearing on the operation to withdraw troops and evacuate US citizens and allies from Afghanistan. The US secretary of state affirmed that the administration of President Joe Biden was prepared for the worst-case scenario in Afghanistan, and remained calm during what was considered the most difficult hearing of his career.

A series of Republican congressmen expressed anger when loudly criticizing, showing pictures of American soldiers killed in the Kabul airport bombing on August 26 and repeatedly demanding Blinken’s resignation. Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State emphasized that former President Donald Trump was the one who initiated the effort to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

“We accepted the deadline, not the plan. Still, we planned and implemented a series of contingencies. The evacuation itself was an extraordinary effort by diplomats. , military and intelligence professionals, under the most difficult conditions imaginable,” Blinken added.

The Taliban entered Kabul without resistance from government forces on the evening of August 15, less than a day after the siege of the capital began. This force launched a lightning military operation and took over most of Afghanistan shortly after the US and its allies withdrew most of their forces from Afghanistan.

Former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani boarded a plane out of Kabul and went abroad on the night of August 15, while many government officials evacuated to the Panjshir resistance valley. The rush to evacuate as the Taliban advanced into the capital, Kabul, drew criticism from Ghani and his former government for betraying and not fighting for the country.

Vu Anh (Follow Reuters)

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