Blinken faces 2nd day of questions from Foreign Relations Committee

Secretary of State Antony Blinken faced bipartisan criticism from committee members for the administration's handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
3:49 | 09/14/21

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Transcript for Blinken faces 2nd day of questions from Foreign Relations Committee
Secretary of the execution. Of the US with coral which clearly and fatally flawed. This committee expects to receive a full explanation of the administration's decisions on Afghanistan since coming into office last January. There has to be accountability. We will have other hearings to develop a set of lessons learned over the course of the war to understand the many mistakes made over the course twenty years. On this twentieth anniversary and as we honor nearly 3000 men women and children lost their lives. We are reminded of why we went to Afghanistan. In the first place. To bring justice to those who attacked us. And to ensure it would never happen again. We achieve those objectives. Along time ago. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011. Okayed its capabilities are degraded significantly including its ability to plan and conduct external operations. After twenty years. 2461. American lives lost. When he fell and injuries. Two trillion dollars spent. It was time to end America's longest war. President Biden took office in January. Inherited an agreement that is presets are reached with the telethon to remove all remaining US forces from Afghanistan by may first this year. It's part of at a treatment. Previous administration pressed the Afghan government to release 5000 Taliban prisoners. Including some top war commanders. Meanwhile out it reduced our own force presents 2500 troops. In return. The Taliban agreed to stop attacking US and part forces. And to refrain from threatening Afghanistan's major cities. But the Taliban continued its relentless march on remote outposts. Checkpoints villages and districts. As well some of the major roads connecting the cities. By January when he 21. The Taliban was in its strongest military position since 911. And we have the smallest number of US forces in Afghanistan. Since 2001. As a result upon taking office. President Biden immediately face the choice between ending the war. Or escalating. Had he not follow through on this be assessed his commitment. Attacks on our forces and those of our allies would have resumed. And the Taliban's nationwide assault on Afghanistan's major cities would have commenced. That would've required sending substantially more US forces into Afghanistan. To defend ourselves and to prevent a Taliban takeover. Taking casualties. And with it best the prospect of restoring a stalemate in remaining stuck in Afghanistan under fire in definitely. There's no evidence. That staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilience were self sustaining. Even the most pessimistic assessments. Did not predict that the government forces and that in Kabul would collapse. When US football US forces remained. They were focused not what would happen after United States withdrew from September on work. As general Millie the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is said. Nothing or anyone else saw indicated a collapse of this army in this government in eleven days. Nonetheless. We planned an exercise to wide range of contingencies. Because of that plan we rape would draw down our embassy and move our remaining personnel to the airport within 48 hours in the military. Placed on standby by president Biden was able to secure the airport and start the evacuation within 72 ops. And yes that evacuation was an extraordinary effort under the most difficult missions America. By our diplomats. Our military. By our intelligence professionals.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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