Blinken Visits Afghanistan After Biden Announces U.S. Troop Withdrawal

Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Blinken Visits Afghanistan After Biden Announces U.S. Troop Withdrawal” – below is their description.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken sought to assure senior Afghan politicians Washington remains committed to the country during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Thursday.

Blinken made the trip to sell Afghan leaders and a wary public on President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from the country and end America’s longest war.

In a meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the National Reconciliation Council, Blinken said “we have a new chapter, but it is a new chapter that we are writing together.”

The trip comes despite Biden’s announcement a day earlier that the 2,500 U.S. soldiers remaining in the country would be coming home by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that led to the U.S. invasion in 2001.

NATO immediately followed Biden’s lead on Wednesday, saying its roughly 7,000 non-American forces in Afghanistan would be departing within a few months, ending the foreign military presence that had been a fact of life for a generation of Afghans already reeling from more than 40 years of conflict.

Blinken arrived in the Afghan capital from Brussels, where he and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin briefed NATO officials on the U.S. decision and won quick approval from the allies to end their Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.

Biden, Blinken, Austin have all tried to put a brave face on the pullout, maintaining that the U.S.- and NATO-led missions to Afghanistan had achieved their goal of decimating Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network that launched the 9/11 attacks and clearing the country of terrorist elements that could use Afghan soil to plot similar strikes.

However, that argument has faced pushback from some U.S. lawmakers and human rights advocates, who say the withdrawal will result in the loss of freedoms that Afghans enjoyed after the Taliban was ousted from power in late 2001.

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9/11 is the abbreviated moniker for the civilian airliner attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, USA, on 11th September 2001. The Pentagon was also targeted and a fourth airliner crashed when passengers overpowered hijackers. Around 3000 people died as a result of the airliner hijackings which took place on 9/11.

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Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country at the crossroads of Central and South Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.

Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

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The Taliban or Taleban, who refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a Deobandi Islamist movement and military organization in Afghanistan, currently waging war within the country. Since 2016, the Taliban’s leader has been Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada.

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