- Sen. Richard Blumenthal said America’s failure in Afghanistan is ruining its global reputation.
- He zeroed in on the fact Americans and Afghan allies were left behind after the last US troops departed.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there’s about 100 Americans still in Afghanistan who want to leave.
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Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut on Tuesday told reporters that the US government’s failure to evacuate all Americans and Afghan allies from Afghanistan is hurting the country’s reputation.
“I feel very passionately that we are tainting America’s reputation around the world but more importantly abandoning essential honor and moral imperative by failing to do more to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies who put their lives on the line,” Blumental said.
The Connecticut Democrat told CNN’s Manu Raju he’s “deeply disappointed that our State Department has failed to put more pressure on the Taliban” over the evacuations.
“My feeling is there has to be accountability,” the senator added. “The time will come when we will finish an analysis and there will be accountability and we should hold responsible officials who failed to honor our promises.”
Blumenthal’s comments came as Secretary of State Antony Blinken was being grilled by senators on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
-Mediaite (@Mediaite) September 14, 2021
The Biden administration has faced bipartisan criticism over its handling of the pullout, particularly over the fact that a few hundred Americans and thousands of Afghan allies were left behind. The US pulled out the last troops from Afghanistan in late August.
Blinken on Monday told House lawmakers “as of the end of last week, we had about 100 American citizens in Afghanistan who told us that they wish to leave the country.”
At least some foreign nationals, including Americans, have been able to leave Afghanistan in the past week.
During the congressional hearings on Afghanistan, Blinken has offered a full-throated defense of the withdrawal and the administration’s approach to it. But he’s faced fierce pushback from lawmakers in the process – including Democrats.
“Mr. Secretary, the execution of the U.S. withdrawal was clearly and fatally flawed,” Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday.
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan coincided with the Taliban’s takeover of the country. In the final days of the evacuation, a terror attack linked to ISIS-K near the Kabul airport killed 13 US service members and 169 Afghans.