US Secretary of State: Staying longer wouldn’t have made a difference
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave his first response in Congress on Monday evening to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. During a three-hour hearing in the Foreign Affairs Committee, Blinken was subjected to critical questions from Republican Congressmen in particular, who demanded Blinken’s resignation over the chaotic departure and swift takeover of the Taliban, US media reported.
According to Blinken, it would have made no difference to Afghanistan if US troops had stayed longer. “We made the right decision by ending America’s longest war,” he said. In the nearly twenty years that the war in Afghanistan lasted, more than 6,000 American soldiers and at least 100,000 Afghans were killed. He pointed out that the withdrawal was not the plan of President Biden’s administration. “We inherited a deadline, not a plan,” he said.
Although the evacuation of US citizens has been temporarily halted due to measles outbreaks at three different military bases, the US continues to pick up Americans unabated. Blinken said there are still about a hundred American citizens in Afghanistan who want to get out of there. This requires coordination with the Taliban. In his defence, Blinken emphasized that consultations will have to be held with the new rulers. “It is the de facto government of Afghanistan. Those are just the facts,” he said.
BBC: Taliban killed civilians in attack on Panshhir Valley
Despite previous promises not to inflict civilian casualties, the Taliban have executed several people in Panshhir Valley. The BBC writes this on the basis of its own research. It would be at least 20 civilians who had nothing to do with the fighting between the Taliban and the insurgents in the mountainous area.
For example, the BBC has images of an execution of a man by Taliban fighters, while bystanders say that it is a civilian. One of the other victims of the Taliban is said to have been a shopkeeper who refused to flee from the new rulers in Afghanistan. Witnesses said his body showed signs of torture.
Earlier, a Taliban spokesman had just said that civilians should continue with their daily lives. “If they are shopkeepers, they can go to their shops. If they are farmers, they can go to their farms. We are here to protect them, their lives and their families,” the spokesperson said. However, according to the BBC, the testimonies show that civilians are not protected.
Meanwhile, a large influx of refugees is said to have started in the Panjshir Valley. The region was the last area not yet in the hands of the Taliban. In addition to insurgents led by Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, Afghan military personnel had come to the valley to help resist the Taliban. However, after fierce fighting, much of the area is now back under Taliban control.
Welcome to this blog
In this blog keeps NRC key developments in the aftermath of the Taliban’s conquest of Afghanistan. The Netherlands and other western countries are still trying to evacuate their own citizens and Afghans from the Central Asian country. Meanwhile, the Taliban have formed their government, introduced rules for women’s education, and there have been reports of crushed demonstrations. The international community pledged more than $1.1 billion in aid to Afghanistan on Monday.
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