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Blinken pushes back on criticism to Afghanistan withdrawal: 'We achieved the objectives that we set out to achieve'

Blinken pushes back on criticism to Afghanistan withdrawal: 'We achieved the objectives that we set out to achieve'
© CARLOS BARRIA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKabul attack spurs fears over fate of Afghan women as US exits China knocks US for urging WHO to invite Taiwan to meeting The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns MORE in an interview broadcast Sunday pushed back on criticism of President BidenJoe BidenCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Manchin, Biden huddle amid talk of breaking up T package Overnight Energy: 5 takeaways from the Colonial Pipeline attack | Colonial aims to 'substantially' restore pipeline operations by end of week | Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE's plan to remove U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, arguing that the U.S. had fulfilled its mission to end al Qaeda's ability to strike at the U.S.

Blinken told co-anchor Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week" that while he respected retired generals including David Petraeus and Joseph Dunford, the Biden administration was following a "deliberate and informed" process leading to the troop withdrawal.

"I have great respect for General Petraeus, General Dunford and others, but we had a very deliberate and fully informed process leading up to the decision by the president," Blinken said.

"[But we] went to Afghanistan 20 years ago, and we went because we were attacked on 9/11, and we went to take on those who had attacked us on 9/11, and to make sure that Afghanistan would not again become a haven for terrorism directed at the United States or any of our allies and partners," Blinken continued, adding: "We achieved the objectives that we set out to achieve."

His remarks come as some U.S. military and intelligence officials have warned publicly that the U.S. risks seeing Afghanistan's fledgling government be overtaken in a military conflict with the Taliban should the U.S withdraw from the region, an outcome that would essentially reverse the gains of the past two decades following the Taliban's ouster from power shortly after the U.S. invasion.

The Biden administration said last week that the U.S. would withdraw all combat troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, while missing a May 1 deadline previously agreed upon by the Trump administration and Afghanistan's government.