Sen. Tom Cotton Demands Explanation From Blinken Who Reportedly Ditched Afghanistan Planning Meeting

© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his plane to depart for his return to the United States from Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City, Kuwait, July 29, 2021
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his plane to depart for his return to the United States from Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City, Kuwait, July 29, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.10.2021
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The botched US withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of war has triggered harsh criticism on both sides of the political aisle. Congressmen have demanded the Biden administration provide answers as to why the evacuation from Afghanistan was so problematic and chaotic, leaving thousands of loyal Afghans and hundreds of Americans behind.
Republican Sen. Tom Cotton believes the American people have a right to know why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to reports, was not present at a meeting for the discussion of the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

In a letter addressed to Blinken, Cotton writes: “It has come to my attention that, on May 8, 2021, the Biden administration held an exercise for principals to rehearse the plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Conspicuously, you reportedly did not attend the exercise. You also did not send your top deputy, Wendy Sherman. Instead, you sent the third-ranking official at the Department of State. Where were you on May 8, 2021?”

"Given the disaster that played out in Kabul, the American people deserve to know why [Blinken] skipped the Afghanistan withdrawal rehearsal in May," the senator later tweeted.

"The exercise was reportedly attended by the top military leaders responsible for the Afghanistan withdrawal, along with White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, CIA Director William Burns, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power, and Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield," Cotton added.

It was reported earlier that the secretary of state was also absent the day the Taliban* seized power in Kabul, as White House staff usually vacation during that time of the year.
Earlier in the month, Blinken appeared before the congressional Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to testify on the chaotic US evacuation, which was carried out from 15 to 31 August and saw a terrorist attack that killed 13 American servicemen and several hundreds of Afghans.
During the same hearings, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley reportedly blamed the State Department for the unreasonably long delay in evacuating Afghan citizens.
The US was said to have failed to remove 2,000 local residents from Afghanistan who worked for the American embassy in Kabul and their family members. Among those who were left in the country were also students and graduates, applicants for American immigration visas, as well as hundreds of former soldiers of the republic's special forces who fought on the side of the US.
*A terrorist organization banned in Russia
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