UPDATED 7:53 PM PT – Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken was grilled over the Afghanistan crisis by senators on both sides of the aisle. On Tuesday, Blinken testified for the second time this week in front of members of Congress in a hearing conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) lambasted Blinken for the disastrous pullout by noting Intelligence reports warned of an imminent collapse.
“”Let me suffice it to say that there are numerous pieces that would be categorized as ‘it’s going to hit the fan,’” he stated. “…We had every reason to believe and to plan for the rapid collapse of the Afghan military and Afghan government.”
Rubio went on to suggest the Afghan military had lost thousands of troops to Taliban attacks and were using U.S. and NATO support as a crutch. He stressed taking away massive amounts of support could only lead to disaster.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) September 14, 2021
However, Blinken claimed the reports he was privy to didn’t suggest Afghanistan would crumble in less than a week, which dismissed the situation as a bad investment.
“We collectively over 20 years invested extraordinary amounts in those security forces and in that government,” he expressed. “Hundreds of billions of dollars of equipment, training, advice, support and based on that as well as based on what we were looking at real time, again, we did not see this collapse in a matter of 11 days.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) stressed he couldn’t imagine the “colossal incompetence” leading to the worst military disaster in U.S. history. Paul highlighted more than $80 billion worth of military equipment was left in the country and the 13 U.S. service members who were killed during the pullout.
The Kentucky Republican went on to warn the Biden administration wanted to send $64 million worth of humanitarian aid to the Taliban run government Afghanistan.
“To add insult to injury, this week you now released $64 million in aid to Afghanistan. Don’t we have some prohibition against giving aid and comfort to the enemy?” he questioned. “…Well the Taliban has a history of taking this.”
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) September 14, 2021
Paul asked America’s top diplomat if he knew a recent strike was an ISIS-K terrorist or a civilian aid work.
Paul: “So you don’t know or won’t tell us?”
Blinken: “I can’t because we’re reviewing it”
Paul: “You’d think you’d kind of know before you off somebody with a predator drone whether he’s an aid worker or an ISIS-K.”
The GOP senators stressed throughout the hearing their concern with the lack of accountability from the Biden administration. They warned the event caused a massive blow to the image of America as a top leader on the world stage.
Several senators expressed a desire to replace several officials with fresh personnel.
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.): “So I want to ask you, have you submitted your resignation regarding this issue?”
Blinken: “I have not.”
Hagerty: “The lack of accountability here, the lack of accountability in this administration is shocking to me.”
At today’s Senate Foreign Relations hearing on the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, we heard nothing but excuses from Secretary of State Blinken. We heard testimony today that there are still more than 100 Americans trapped in Afghanistan who want to get out. pic.twitter.com/zNezhp9gad
— Sen. John Barrasso (@SenJohnBarrasso) September 14, 2021
Blinken assured the upper chamber the State Department was conducting a thorough review on what went wrong in Afghanistan. He noted all of the broad strategic decisions were coming from Joe Biden himself and this his thinking was crystal clear.
The secretary of state went on to say there would be no cooperation with the Taliban if they failed to abide by international norms.