“The point is, we have seen that this force has been unable to defend the country,” Blinken told CNN. State of the Union on Sunday. “And it happened faster than expected. “
The acceleration of the plan is something State Department security officials had anticipated after seeing the Taliban’s gains and rapid takeovers of provincial capitals across the country.
Most diplomats still in Kabul will be heading to the airport for a flight back to the United States, but a small core of staff, including the top American diplomat, will remain at the airport for the time being, which means that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul will be closed. by Tuesday.
U.S. officials have repeatedly told reporters that they do not have a solid infrastructure for gathering information on the ground in Afghanistan at the moment, which led to the decision to leave to avoid having to operate in the dark as the Taliban advance. Those gathering intelligence for the United States, mostly troops on the ground, were all withdrawn.
In an image reminiscent of Saigon’s fall in Vietnam in 1975, a helicopter took off from the U.S. Embassy earlier today. Smoke was also seen rising above the embassy as security officials burned important documents and destroyed equipment. Once the American flag is lowered, the Embassy will be officially closed for the time being.
Mr Blinken pushed back comparisons with Vietnam on Sunday, saying: “This is not Saigon. ”
The top diplomat was asked by a veteran about Meet the press, who wondered, “Why is my friend dead?”
“First of all, thank you for your service. God bless you, ”Mr. Blinken said. “You have succeeded in accomplishing the mission entrusted to you on September 11. “
Taliban fighters are attacking Kabul from all directions and gunshots were heard on the outskirts of the capital earlier Sunday before the fighters entered the city.
Taliban leaders have demanded that the Afghan government pull out and hand Kabul over to the extremist group in the hope of avoiding further violence. “We have not declared a ceasefire,” they warned.
An additional 3,000 US troops were sent to assist with the evacuation, with perhaps as many as 10,000 US citizens still in the city. A US defense official has warned that it is likely only a matter of days before the Taliban takes control of Kabul.
“This status quo was not sustainable,” Blinken told CNN on Sunday. “Like it or not, there was an agreement that forces would be deployed on May 1. If we hadn’t started this process… then we would have been at war with the Taliban again… with tens of thousands of troops. “
“With this increase in troops to transport Americans out of Afghanistan, aren’t we already in the middle of a Saigon moment?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mr. Blinken.
“No, we are not,” replied Mr. Blinken. “Remember, this is not Saigon. We went to Afghanistan 20 years ago with a mission, and that mission was to deal with the people who attacked us on September 11. And we succeeded in this mission. The goal we set for ourselves – bring those who attacked us to justice, ensure that they can no longer attack us from Afghanistan – we have succeeded in this mission. And in fact, we were successful some time ago.
“Staying in Afghanistan for another, five, ten years is not in the national interest… the British were there for a long time in the 19th century, the Russians were there for a long time in the 20th century. We are now there twice as long as the Russians, and I do not see how it is in our national interest, ”he added.
“I think most of our strategic competitors in the world would like nothing better than to stay in Afghanistan another year, five years, ten years, and have these dedicated resources to be in the midst of a civil war.” Mr. Blinken said. told CNN.
US President Joe Biden has warned the Taliban that any action that puts Americans at risk “will meet with a swift and strong US military response.”
Republican Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse lambasted the Afghan policies of the Trump and Biden administrations in a statement Sunday.
“History needs to be clear on this: American troops did not lose this war – Donald Trump and Joe Biden deliberately decided to lose. The politicians lied: America’s options were never just this shameful withdrawal or an endless occupation force of 100,000 troops (we haven’t had this in Afghanistan for a decade), ”added Mr. Sasse.
“America’s leaders have not told the truth that our small forward-deployed force of a few thousand was the backbone of the successful work of intelligence and special forces to behead terrorist organizations,” it reads. his statement.
“The impending defeat will seriously damage US intelligence services and provide jihadists a safe haven in Afghanistan, once again. America will regret it. Our allies will trust us less and our adversaries fear us less. China is already exploiting this latest example of an American retreat. We need a long-term national security strategy.