Secretary of State Antony Blinken doubled down on his attempts to avoid blame for leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday. Despite being in Washington, Blinken apparently could not muster the courage to face Congress in person, instead testifying via video while just a few miles away from the Capitol.
CONGRESSMAN SCOTT PERRY: "Can you tell us where you are today?"— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 13, 2021
BLINKEN: "Yes. I'm at the State Department."
PERRY: "Couldn't be bothered to come down here and see Congress? Alright, that's great." pic.twitter.com/PmTB86uRaW
Even after testifying for more than an hour, Blinken managed to say very little. When asked about the leaked phone call between Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Blinken declined to comment and refused to deny that the damning transcript reported by Reuters was accurate.
Blinken is asked about Biden's July phone call with the Afghanistan President in which Biden said "and there's a need, whether it be true or not, there's a need to project a different picture."— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 13, 2021
BLINKEN: "I'm not commenting on any purportedly leaked transcripts." pic.twitter.com/ixTdaJBLrC
He did, perhaps inadvertently, prove Biden a liar yet again by admitting there are "about 100" American citizens still stranded in Afghanistan and seeking to evacuate. President Biden had said previously in an interview with George Stephanopolous that American troops would not leave Afghanistan until every American was out of the country.
BLINKEN: "As of the end of last week, we had about 100 American citizens in Afghanistan who had told us they wish to leave the country." pic.twitter.com/rKXSimmMq1— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 13, 2021
Meanwhile on Monday evening President Biden is scheduled to stump for embattled California Governor Gavin Newsom in Long Beach as Blinken confirms that the Taliban is preventing Americans and our Afghan allies from evacuating.
Apparently learning nothing from the Taliban's renewed subjugation of women and tyrannical past, Blinken insisted that the United States continues to "expect the Taliban" to behave unlike the Taliban "to ensure freedom of travel, to make good on its commitments on counterterrorism, to uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people including women, girls, and minorities."
BLINKEN: "We expect the Taliban to ensure freedom of travel, to make good on its commitments on counterterrorism, to uphold the basic rights of the Afghan people including women, girls, and minorities." pic.twitter.com/Wi71Aa7xdX— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 13, 2021
The Taliban has a demonstrated commitment to depriving women, children, and minorities of the most basic of rights, and they were known to seize travel documents and even beat or whip individuals attempting to get through their checkpoints to Kabul's airport in order to evacuate. Blinken's expectations do not mean a thing to the Taliban who have already secured control of Afghanistan and tens of billions of dollars in American military equipment.
As others pointed out, the American people deserve and are demanding answers from the Biden administration officials who oversaw the disaster of a withdrawal.
It's about time Secretary Blinken gets grilled. Republicans must press him on why Joe Biden has so far done nothing but appease the Taliban.— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) September 13, 2021
Let's be clear: The Taliban deserves no American aid and must be recognized as a terrorist organization and nothing else.
For his part, nearly every promise Blinken and his State Department made before the withdrawal turned into a humiliating and deadly debacle was broken. We were told there was no concern for America's diplomats in Kabul while State directed the U.S. embassy in Kabul to begin destroying computers and sensitive documents and started evacuating staff.
Blinken insisted the Taliban would not topple Afghanistan in a weekend, and then they took Kabul in just a matter of days. Blinken told the American and Afghan people that there would continue to be a diplomatic presence in Afghanistan, and now the closest outpost is in Qatar after every diplomat fled Afghanistan.
We were promised there wouldn't be a Saigon-like exit, and then a frenzied airlift that saw Afghans fall to their deaths after trying to cling to the landing gear of U.S. jets happened. Americans were told that their fellow citizens would not be left behind in Afghanistan, and then they were abandoned.
Blinken will continue testimony on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., and Biden's Pentagon brass will face questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee in the days ahead.