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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has denied accusations of a botched withdrawal from Afghanistan, accusing the Trump administration of any failure and saying Washington is focused on protecting LGBTQ and other vulnerable Afghans.

“Thank you for rightly emphasizing the concerns about the LGBTQI + community in Afghanistan and the particular threat they find themselves in.” Blinken told U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) during a House hearing on the Afghan withdrawal on Monday.

This is something that we are focusing on.

It is unclear how Blinken intends to protect LGBTQ and other vulnerable Afghans, as the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan even before the Biden administration could complete its outing. The administration on Monday announced $ 64 million in humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, saying the money will be channeled to charities and United Nations agencies to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Taliban.

USAID, led by notorious interventionist Samantha Power, will send the money through non-governmental organizations to “Provide vital support directly to Afghans facing the aggravating effects of insecurity, conflicts, recurring natural disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic”, according to the ad.

Blinken has hinted that the United States has some level of influence over the Taliban, while acknowledging that the Islamist group has prevented some Americans and allies of the United States from leaving the country on charter flights.

“We expect the Taliban to guarantee freedom to travel, to keep their commitments in the fight against terrorism, to defend the fundamental rights of the Afghan people – including women, girls and minorities – and that they appoint a broadly representative permanent government, ”he added. said the secretary. “The legitimacy and support that the Taliban seek from the international community will depend on their conduct. “

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Blinken admitted that about 100 U.S. citizens and “several thousands” lawful permanent residents of the United States remain in Afghanistan.
Dozens of Afghans died in the early days of the chaotic U.S. withdrawal, and 170 were killed in the August 26 suicide bombing at Kabul airport, along with 13 U.S. soldiers. But Blinken rejected Republican calls for resignation and deflected criticism, saying President Joe Biden had a choice to honor a peace deal that former President Donald Trump’s administration negotiated with the Taliban or send a third generation of American troops to continue fighting America’s longest war.

We inherited a deadline, we did not inherit a plan.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) pointed out that Biden dismantled most other Trump-era policies, including border security measures, and then blamed his predecessor when he ended the war.

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Monday’s hearing was largely a series of Democrats thanking Blinken and criticizing Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban, followed by Republicans blasting intelligence and planning failures during the pullout. Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pa.) Criticized the secretary for testifying remotely from the State Department, saying: “Couldn’t you be bothered to come here and see Congress?” Alright, that’s great.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) called the withdrawal a “Absolute disaster of epic proportions” and one “treason” Afghan allies. He said the United States had lost to terrorists, encouraging the Taliban and their opponents in the region.

“This is an important question and one that, in its details and its substance, I think we must address in another framework”, Blinken said.

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