Secretary of State makes surprise trip to Afghanistan after Biden announces he’s pulling troops from region

D.C. Bureau

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Thursday after the president said he’d move to pull all troops out of the region.

“I know this is a moment for many of mixed emotions,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “These are hard – hard choices, hard decisions.”

The president announced Wednesday that it’s “time to end America’s longest war.” He said he plans to have all American troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, 2021 – 20 years after the terror attacks that sparked the war.

Biden said he consulted with Congress, military leaders and President Ghani of Afghanistan before making his announcement Wednesday.

Less than 24 hours after that announcement, Secretary Blinken was meeting with Ghani and other prominent leaders in Kabul to discuss the next steps.

“We have a new chapter but it’s a chapter that we’re writing together,” he said.

Secretary Blinken said his visit demonstrates the United States’ commitment toward a permanent ceasefire to Afghan leaders. But back in Washington, reactions to the president’s decision have been mixed.

Democrats like Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia say it’s time to bring our troops home.

“I’ve seen no good answer on Afghanistan,” he said. “We could be there a decade from now and be in no better position.”

Sen. Josh Hawley said his only concern is that he doesn’t think it’s soon enough. The Missouri Republican wants troops home by May 1.

“Which is what the Trump administration set as their deadline,” Sen. Hawley said. “But better late than never.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is urging President Biden to rethink his decision.

“Who replaces our troops to protect us?” he said. “We’re gonna pay a heavy price as a nation unless Biden recalculates.”

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