September 18, 2021

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Live: Blinken Is Grilled on Afghanistan in Congress – The New York Times

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Another Republican, Representative Steve Chabot of Ohio, said, “the administration’s bungled pullout from Afghanistan just may be the worst foreign affairs disaster in American history.”

The committee’s chairman, Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Democrat of New York, said ending the war was “never going to be easy for my friends who presume a clean solution for the withdrawal existed.”

But he also suggested that the Trump administration bore responsibility for the deal that outlined the withdrawal and that the current outcry of criticism carried a partisan tinge: “Once again, you’re seeing domestic politics injected into foreign policy,” Mr. Meeks said.

Ongoing diplomacy has continued, but from Doha, the capital of Qatar, and Mr. Biden has pointed to so-called “over the horizon” strikes in an effort to keep terrorists from gaining ground in Afghanistan. The Taliban has agreed to refuse refuge to terror groups as a condition of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was brokered during the Trump administration.

However, it is widely believed that Al Qaeda’s most senior leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, is currently living in Afghanistan, which means “the Taliban is harboring Al Qaeda today,” Michael J. Morell, a former deputy and acting director of the C.I.A., told the CBS News program “Face The Nation” on Sunday. “I think that’s a very important point,” Mr. Morell said.

Top C.I.A. officials, including William J. Burns, the agency’s director, have acknowledged that they are looking for new ways to collect information in Afghanistan, and that their ability to gather information on terrorist activity is diminished.

Even Democrats who supported Mr. Biden’s decision to end the 20-year war have said they viewed the withdrawal with mixed feelings.

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