Monday afternoon Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he will no doubt be questioned about the way the White House handled the evacuation from Afghanistan since the U.S. military withdrawal.
Congress, as well as the terrified American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies that were left stranded in the now Taliban-controlled, will be looking for answers about how it happened.
“I have a lot of questions for Antony Blinken, as do all the Republicans and I’m sure many of our Democratic friends,” committee member Rep Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., said in an interview. “Look, right now, we have families that are still stranded.”
Tenney spoke of one family of green card holders, the only American citizen was a 3-year old, the family was told that only one parent could go with the child, the rest of the family of seven would have to stay behind in Afghanistan.
“So this is just completely unacceptable. And It’s part of the debacle that has been this policy and Secretary Blinken needs to answer that.”
Tenney said that so far Blinken has only given “inadequate responses” to the situation, “including, don’t rely on the U.S. government to get you out of Afghanistan.”
Tenney said she also intends to address whether Blinken “is actually going to recognize the Taliban government, a terrorist organization, as a legitimate government.”
Sirajuddin Haggani is on the FBI’s most-wanted list and the Taliban just announced him as a cabinet member.
Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla,. expressed his concern that he and others on the committee won’t even have the opportunity to question Blinken citing Blinken’s history of leaving early.
“Each time Mr. Blinken comes to our committee…he only comes for maybe two or three hours,” Steube said.
Not everyone feels the same about the withdrawal, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., defended the Biden administration concerning the evacuation and withdrawal.
“Let’s face it, this mission was fraught with peril, because there’s no way to flee without causing a stampede, and there’s no way to have a stampede that’s orderly and meritorious,” Sherman said.
It remains unclear just how many U.S. citizens or permanent residents are still stranded in Afghanistan. Qatar has been helping people fly out on Qatar Airways, meanwhile, others have literally escaped by traveling over land.
Friday, Blinken said that two American citizens and 11 lawful permanent residents escaped over land that day and 19 citizens flew out of Afghanistan. Adding that the White House is doing all it can to uphold the commitment to those to whom we have a special commitment.
Perhaps it would be helpful if Blinken went to Afghanistan and then had to travel back “over land,” maybe then he would be ready to answer a few questions.