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Blinken to appear before Congress over Afghanistan withdrawal: LIVE UPDATES

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Monday afternoon and is sure to face grilling over the White House's handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan following the American military withdrawal.


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Perino: Republicans and Democrats united in 'humiliation' over Biden's botched Afghanistan retreat

Fox News host Dana Perino said on "The Five" Monday that President Biden's botched Afghanistan withdrawal managed to unite Republicans and Democrats in bipartisan "humiliation."

Perino made the comment after former Obama officials publicly scolded Biden for his handling of the U.S. retreat from Afghanistan, blaming him for empowering al Qaeda and affiliate terrorist organizations abroad.

"It took the botching of the Afghanistan hasty retreat to bring Americans together," Perino said. "You now have a bipartisan agreement that… people wanted to get out of Afghanistan but then it was handled terribly on the way out and they are embarrassed by it,  they’re humiliated. They want the Americans to get out… It doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon."

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Posted by Michael Lee

GOP Rep. McCaul asks if Putin threatened Biden, Blinken dodges question

Secretary of State Antony Blinken dodged a question from GOP Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas on whether or not Russian President Vladimir Putin "threatened" President Biden about developing intelligence capabilities near Afghanistan.

McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked Blinken if it was true that the Russian president had "threatened" Biden regarding intelligence installations in the region.

"Is it true that President Putin threatened the president of the United States, saying he could not build intelligence capabilities in the region?" McCaul asked.

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Posted by Michael Lee

GOP congressman erupts at Blinken during Afghanistan hearing: 'We don't need to hear lies'

A GOP congressman erupted at Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his hearing in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying Congress does not "need to hear lies."

Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan, got into a heated exchange with Blinken as the congressman's allotted time to question the secretary of state drew to a close.

Mast slammed the administration's handling of the withdrawal, pointing to Biden's controversial leaked call with the former Afghan president, leading the Florida Republican to proclaim that he does not "believe a word" the secretary was saying.

"I don't want to hear from the secretary," Mast said. "He lies to us when he appears before us."

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Posted by Michael Lee

Blinken slammed for testifying virtually: 'Couldn't be bothered to come down here'

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was slammed by Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., for electing to testify virtually, rather than in person, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Perry blasted Blinken for not being at the hearing Monday over the troop withdrawal that saw 13 American service members die in a suicide bombing in Kabul.

Blinken revealed that he was seated in the annals of the State Department, blocks away from the first of two back-to-back Capitol Hill hearings to which he was summoned. Blinken testified roughly three miles away from where the hearing took place.

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Posted by Michael Lee

Blinken pressed on allegation Biden told Afghan President Ghani to lie about the war

Secretary of State Antony Blinken was pressed to comment on President Biden's last call with Afghan President Mohammad Ghani after reports alleged that the president pressured his Afghan counterpart to lie about the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan over the summer.

"I'm obviously not going to comment on leaked, purportedly leaked, transcripts of phone calls," Blinken said in response to Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who questioned Blinken on whether he agreed with Biden's handling of the phone call during the Monday hearing. "What the president said in that conversation with then-President Ghani is exactly what he was saying to in public."

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Posted by Michael Lee

GOP congressman tells Blinken to resign during heated Afghanistan hearing

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., told Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday that he should resign over his handling of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

During a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in which Blinken testified, Wilson blamed the Biden administration for allowing the Taliban to take over Afghanistan and turning it into a "safe haven for murderous terrorists." 

He also blasted the administration for the crisis at the U.S. southern border, which he said allows individuals on the FBI's terrorist watchlist "to enter American neighborhoods as lone wolf suicide bombers to murder as many Americans as possible."

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Posted by Michael Lee

Blinken admits that there are still

Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that there are still Americans stranded in Afghanistan during his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"We're in constant contact with American citizens still in Afghanistan who have told us that they wish to leave," Blinken said. "Each has been assigned a case management team to offer specific guidance and instruction."

Posted by Michael Lee

Sam Brown: I almost died serving in Afghanistan. Blinken needs to answer these 5 questions

The Biden administration’s Afghanistan withdrawal has been a parade of gut-punching failure after gut-punching failure. I was blown up after my vehicle was struck by an IED and nearly died there. As a veteran of the war and as an American, I have questions. We all deserve answers.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s testimony to Congress this week is the first opportunity for the American people to hold the Biden Administration accountable under oath for its failures that left Americans and our allies behind in Afghanistan and tragically cost the lives of 13 servicemembers.

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Posted by Michael Lee

Blinken to face grilling from Congress on Afghanistan withdrawal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Monday afternoon, and is sure to face grilling over the White House's handling of the evacuation from Afghanistan following the American military withdrawal.

American citizens, green card holders and Afghan allies have been stuck in the Taliban-controlled country after U.S. forces left at the end of August, and members of Congress will be looking for answers as to how this happened.

"I have a lot of questions for Antony Blinken, as do all of the Republicans and I'm sure many of our Democratic friends," committee member Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., told "Fox Report." "Look, right now, we have families that are still stranded."

Tenney told of one family of green card holders where the only American citizen is a 3-year-old and Congress was informed that only one parent would be able to join them, leaving the rest of the family of seven behind.

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Posted by Fox News

UN human rights chief warns about reprisal killings allegedly being carried out by the Taliban

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said Monday that her office has “received credible allegations of reprisal killings of a number of former ANSF (Afghan National Security Forces) personnel, and reports of officials, who worked for previous administrations and their family members being arbitrarily detained” by the Taliban. 

“In some cases, the officials were released, and in others, they were found dead,” she added during a speech to the Human Rights Council, according to the Associated Press. 

Bachelet also reportedly said that she has received “multiple” allegations of the Taliban going house-to-house in at least six cities searching for former Afghan government officials and “people who cooperated with U.S. security forces and companies.” 

Posted by Greg Norman

Trump says withdrawal opens door to China, Russia reverse-engineering US military equipment

Former President Donald Trump blasted the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan and speculated that China and Russia could already be reverse-engineering U.S. military equipment left behind.

Speaking with host Sharyl Attkisson during an interview that aired Sunday on "Full Measure," Trump excoriated the withdrawal as "incompetent" and warned it will likely endanger the United States and benefit its enemies.

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Posted by Edmund DeMarche

Afghanistan: China’s Belt and Road Initiative could provide Kabul with funding, report says

China has stepped up its financial support of the Taliban government since the U.S. withdrawal from the country by promising $31 million in emergency aid and Kabul could eventually join Beijing’s strategic Belt and Road Initiative, a report said.

There's a possibility that the Taliban joins the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a key component of the BRI, Reuters reported. The report pointed out that Pakistan has also donated humanitarian aid to Kabul after denying claims that helped the Taliban fight Western forces over the past 20 years. 

“The Taliban would welcome joining CPEC, China would also be very happy,” Rustam Shah Mohmand, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Afghanistan, told Reuters.

Nikkei Asia reported that Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesman, has already said the group wants to join the CPEC. A source told the outlet that China has been courting the Taliban since 2018 on possible projects in the country.  

"There are verbal agreements between Beijing and Taliban about investments," the source told the website. "Once the Taliban government gains global recognition, China will start building infrastructure projects in war-torn Afghanistan."

President Biden has suggested western nations develop a plan to counter China’s years-long initiative that expands its influence in the region. In March, he spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson about the topic.

"I suggested we should have, essentially, a similar initiative, pulling from the democratic states, helping those communities around the world that, in fact, need help," Biden said. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the BRI program in 2013, creating the world’s largest infrastructure program with multi-trillion dollar plans for international development and investment, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. 

The program was originally intended to unite the Asian superpower with neighboring countries, known in China as "One Belt, One Road" in tribute to the Silk Road, but has garnered agreements or investments in 139 countries – accounting for 40 percent of the worlds’ GDP.

Posted by Edmund DeMarche

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