Blinken Is Grilled on Afghanistan in Congress

Blinken Is Grilled on Afghanistan in Congress

As a condition of the US military withdrawal, which the Trump administration negotiated in February 2020, the Taliban has agreed to refuse refuge to terrorist groups. However, it is widely assumed that Al Qaeda’s most senior leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is still in Afghanistan, and top C.I.A. officials, including the agency’s director, William J. Burns, have admitted that their ability to gather intelligence on terrorist activity in the country has now been hampered.

Prior to Mr. Blinken’s testimony, the Biden administration’s top intelligence official stated that Afghanistan, even after the Taliban’s takeover, was not the most pressing terrorism threat for the United States. The director of national intelligence, Avril D. Haines, stated that the withdrawal of American troops and the collapse of the US-backed government have made gathering intelligence in the country difficult.

However, she stated that “in terms of the homeland, the threat right now from terrorist groups, we do not prioritize Afghanistan at the top of the list.”

Recognize the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan

What exactly are the Taliban? The Taliban arose in 1994, in the midst of the upheaval that followed the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1989. To enforce their rules, they used brutal public punishments such as floggings, amputations, and mass executions. Here’s more on their history and record as rulers.

What are the Taliban’s top leaders’ names? These are the Taliban’s top leaders, men who have spent years on the run, in hiding, in prison, and avoiding American drones. Little is known about them or their plans for governance, including whether or not they will be as tolerant as they claim. According to one spokesman, the group wanted to forget its past, but there would be some constraints.

Her remarks emphasized a tenet of Mr. Biden’s decision to leave: that the long-running conflict in Afghanistan had become a distraction from more pressing threats to the United States, such as China, Russia, climate change, and the coronavirus.

Given that strategy, the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan “made good sense,” according to James F. Jeffrey, a former ambassador who worked closely with Mr. Blinken and other senior officials during the Obama administration and is now chair of the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center, a Washington think tank.

However, “the preparations for this thing, and the failure of imagination on how quickly it would happen and how complete the collapse — that’s a problem that you have to point to the administration on,” Mr. Jeffrey said.

Mr. Blinken’s diplomatic effort, which he promised would continue, is primarily focused on pressuring the Taliban to ensure safe passage for people seeking to flee Afghanistan, as well as on protecting Afghan women and girls who were denied education and jobs, and in the worst cases, brutalized, when the Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001. On Monday, he admitted that the Taliban had fallen “far short of the mark” in terms of forming a government that includes women and ethnic minorities, as many countries have demanded.

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Blinken Is Grilled on Afghanistan in Congress