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Biden ignored Austin, Blinken warnings on Afghanistan withdrawal: Book

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden has ignored warnings by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken over an abrupt withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, a new book revealed.

According to a forthcoming book by the Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, called “Peril,” both Austin and Blinken had been in favor of a slower withdrawal.

The authors also claimed that Blinken had been in a same page with the US president over a full withdrawal, but later changed his mind in the wake of a meeting with NATO ministers in March.

“His new recommendation was to extend the mission with US troops for a while to see if it could yield a political settlement. Buy time for negotiations,” the authors wrote in an excerpt obtained by CNN.​

Austin had also proposed a “gated” withdrawal in which the US forces would be evacuated in three or four stages in a bid to pave the way for further negotiations.

Biden, however, had reportedly been determined to complete the withdrawal process before the August 31 deadline, arguing that the US has never promised to endlessly stay in Afghanistan.   

“Our mission is to stop Afghanistan from being a base for attacking the homeland and US allies by al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, not to deliver a death blow to the Taliban,” Biden said in a meeting of the National Security Council, according to the book.

The United States and a number of its allies invaded Afghanistan and toppled a Taliban regime there in late 2001 under the pretext of the so-called "war on terror." The invasion and the ensuing war, however, gravely worsened the security situation in the country.


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