Secretary of State Antony Blinken will face several tough questions from the Senate and House when he testifies this week about the Biden administration's actions on Afghanistan, including whether the missteps that were made were actually intentional and if they were "seeking to elevate China," Sen. Marsha Blackburn said on Newsmax Monday.
"What we can expect are questions such as, did we have a withdrawal plan, or was this happenstance?" the Tennessee Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "The steps that the Biden administration made, which are missteps, were they intentional [or] were they seeking to elevate China? Had they made a deal on the front end? Was the Taliban creating an exit strategy for us because we did not have an exit strategy?"
Blinken will testify before members of the House on Monday and before the Senate on Tuesday, and Blackburn said lawmakers will also want to know if it was part of the plan to turn over Bagram Airfield and all equipment there.
"Did they plan to leave thousands of Americans and SIV applicant and SIV holders behind enemy lines, and why did they underestimate the Taliban?" said Blackburn. "Were they not aware that the Taliban was working with China and Russia and Iran?"
Meanwhile, the senator said she's believed for "quite a while now" that the new "axis of evil" includes "What we know is ... China needed to have that overland route from Beijing to Tehran," she said. "They only got it going through Afghanistan. They also want the rare earth minerals that are there in Afghanistan, the lithium mines, things of that nature which the U.S. has put on the map for them. They know where they're located and where to extract those components which are so necessary for semiconductor chips, microprocessors, lithium-ION batteries."
Further, Tehran "is always looking for a partner that is going to be there to help them export terrorism," she said. "They like using their proxies to create chaos in the world, so we should have expected this. We should have known that this is the type of thing that the Taliban would do."
Meanwhile, Blackburn said she's "terribly concerned," like former CIA Director and Secretary of State Leon Panetta said in an interview Sunday, that the Taliban will continue to support al-Qaida.
"We were fighting the war on terror," she said. "This has been a 20-year war. It was another war against the Afghan people. It is the war on terror. It was so named because it was an ideology, people with an ideology that we were fighting, not a country."
But Biden, with his actions, has given the Taliban a nation-state "where they can have all terrorists, whether it's Hezbollah, Hamas, whether it is the Taliban, al-Qaida, ISIS, they can come there and they can plot the evil that they want to carry out against our allies. It's a very scary thought."
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Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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