US did not anticipate gov' t collapse amid its presence in Afghanistan - Blinken
(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA))
WASHINGTON, Sept 14 (KUNA) -- The US "did not anticipate" the collapse of Afghanistan's government just weeks before the August 31 withdrawal of its forces.
"Our expectation was that beyond August 31, beyond the military drawdown, the government, the security forces, were going to remain in control of Kabul," Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a Senate hearing.
"What we did not anticipate was that 11-day collapse of the government security forces. That's what changed everything."
Blinken said that "even the most pessimistic assessments" did not predict the Taliban's takeover of the capital from government forces in the midst of the presence of US forces.
The US top diplomat claimed responsibility for "any lessons that flawed from those decisions" but added "there's no evidence that staying longer would have made the Afghan security forces or the Afghan government any more resilient or self-sustaining."
He said Washington would remain "vigilant" over the emergence of any terror threats against it through counterterrorism, adding that the Taliban would be held "accountable" if such a scenario would occur. (end)
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