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tv   Secretary of State Blinken on Afghanistan  CSPAN  August 30, 2021 8:19pm-8:40pm EDT

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in the month of september. the meeting is adjourned. >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, provided by these television companies and more, including charter communication. >> broadbent is a force for power. that's why charter has invested billions in upgrading technology, empowering opportunities in communities big and small. charter is connecting us >>. charter communication supports c-span as a public service, along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> x, secretary of state anthony blinken the u.s. withdraw from
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afghanistan and the state department's efforts to locate any remaining americans. >> good evening, everyone. 18 days ago, the united states and the allies began evacuation and relocation operations in kabul. as you just heard from the pentagon, a few hours ago, that operation was complete. more than 123,000 people have been safely flown out of afghanistan. that includes about 6000 american citizens.
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this has been a massive military, diplomatic, and humanitarian undertaking, one of the most difficult in our nations history, and the extraordinary people, logistics and coordination's under some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable. many people made this possible. i want to commend our outstanding diplomats who worked around-the-clock and around the world to coordinate the operations. they volunteered for duty at the kabul airport, flew to transit countries to process thousands of afghans bound for the united states. they deployed to ports of entry and to american military bases to welcome afghans to their new homes. they built a list of americans possibly seeking to leave afghanistan, then worked to contact every one of them repeatedly, making 55,000 phone
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calls and sending 33,000 emails since august 14. they did this because for the thousands of state department and usaid who have served in afghanistan the past 20 years, this evacuation operation was very personal. many worked hand-in-hand for years with afghan partners, many of whom became trusted friends. we lost cherished members of our foreign service community in afghanistan and we will never forget them. helping americans, the foreign partners by our side, and afghans at risk at this moment was more than just a high-stakes assignment for our team, it was a sacred duty. the world saw how our diplomats rose to the challenge with determination and heart. u.s. service members in kabul did heroic work securing the
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airport, protecting civilians of many nationalities, including tens of thousands of afghans and airlifting them out. they are also providing vital support, caring for afghans in europe, the middle east, and the united states. we have seen pictures of service members at the kabul airport cradling babies and comforting families. that is the kind of courage and compassion our men and women in uniform exemplify. they carried out this mission under the constant threat of terrorist violence. four days ago, 11 marines, one navy medic, and one soldier were killed by suicide bomber at the airport gate, as well as scores of afghans. nearly all of them were in their early 20's, just babies and toddlers on september 11, 2001. these deaths are a devastating loss for our country.
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we at the state department feel them deeply. we have a special bond with the marines. the first person you see when you visit an american embassy is a marine. they guard our diplomatic missions and keep us safe around the world. we could not do our jobs without them. and we will never forget their sacrifice, nor will we forget what they have achieved. the most exceptional among us perform a lifetime's work and service in a short time on earth. so it was for our exceptional brothers and sisters who died last week. finally, i want to thank our allies and partners. this operation was a global endeavor in every way. many countries stepped up with robust contributions for the airlift, including working by our side at the airport. some are now serving in transit countries, allowing evacuees to be processed on the way to their
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final destination. others have agreed to resettle afghan refugees permanently and we hope more will do so in the days and weeks ahead. we are truly grateful for their support. now u.s. military flights had ended and our troops have departed afghanistan and a new chapter of america's engagement with afghanistan has begun. it is one in which we will lead with diplomacy. the military mission is over. a new diplomatic mission has begun. here is the plan for the weeks ahead. first, we build a new team to help lead this mission. as of today, we have suspended our diplomatic presence in kabul and transferred our operations to qatar. which will soon be formally notified to congress. given the uncertain environment in afghanistan, it was the prudent step to take. let me take this opportunity to
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thank our outstanding ambassador in kabul who came out of retirement to lead the embassy and has done exceptional, courageous work during a highly challenging time. for the time being, we will use this post to manage diplomacy with afghanistan, including consular affairs, administering humanitarian assistance and working with allies and partners to coordinate messaging to the taliban. our team will be led by ian macarthur who served in afghanistan for the past year. no one is better prepared to do the job. secondly, we will continue our relentless efforts to help americans, foreign nationals, and afghans leave afghanistan if they choose. let me talk briefly about the
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americans who remain in afghanistan. we have made extraordinary efforts to give americans every opportunity to depart. in some cases, walking them into the airport. of those who self identify as americans in afghanistan who are considering leaving, we have received confirmation 6000 have been evacuated or otherwise departed. the number will likely grow as our outreach and arrival continues. we believe there are still a small number of americans under , 200, likely closer to 100, who remain in afghanistan and want to leave. we are trying to determine how many. we are calling and texting through our lists and will have more details as soon as possible. part of the challenge with fixing a precise number is they are longtime residents of afghanistan who have american passports were trying to determine if they want to leave. many are american citizens but
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have family and deep roots in afghanistan. they have resided there for many years. for many it is a painful choice. our commitment to them and all americans in afghanistan the protection and welfare of americans abroad remains vital. if americans in afghanistan tell us they want to stay now and later change their mind, we will help them leave. we have worked intensely to evacuate and relocate afghans who worked alongside us among risk of reprisal. we have got many output many are -- but many are still there. we will keep working to help them. our commitment to them has no deadline. we will hold the taliban to its pledge to let people freely depart afghanistan.
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the taliban is committed to let anyone with proper documents leave the country in a safe and orderly manner. they have said this many times. friday, a senior taliban official said it again on television and radio, that any afghans may leave the country, including those who work for americans, for whatever reason there may be, if they want. more than half the worlds countries have joined us in insisting the taliban let people travel outside afghanistan freely. as of today, more than 100 countries have said they expect the taliban to honor travel or authorizations. a few hours ago, united nations security council passed a resolution that enshrined that responsibility, laying the groundwork to hold the taliban accountable if they renege. the international chorus on this
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is strong. we will hold the taliban to their commitment. we will work to secure safe passage. this morning i met with the , foreign ministers of all of the g-7 countries and others. as well as cutter, turkey, the european union. we discussed how we will work together to facilitate safe travel out of afghanistan. we appreciate the efforts of qatar and turkey. this would enable daily charter flights. we are also working to identify ways to support americans and afghans who have worked with us if they choose to depart. we know this will not be easy or
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rapid. this is a different phase from the evacuation. it will take time to work through a new set of challenges but we will stay on it. the former ambassador of afghanistan, who returned to kabul to help lead evacuation efforts at the airport will spearhead the work to help americans, citizens of other nations, and afghans of high risk if any of them want to depart afghanistan. we are grateful for his commitment to this mission as well as the extraordinary officers serving by his side. we will stay focused on counterterrorism. the taliban has made a commitment to preventing terrorist groups to using
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afghanistan as a base for external operations, including al qaeda and isis-k. we will hold them accountable to that commitment. while we have expectations of the taliban, it does not mean we will rely on them, we will remain vigilant in monitoring threats ourselves and maintain robust counterterrorism capabilities in the region to neutralize threats as necessary, as we demonstrated in the past few days, and as we do around the world. let me speak to the engagement with the taliban. we engaged with the taliban to facilitate evacuations. going forward, any communication with them will be driven by vital national interest. if we can work with them in a
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way that helps secure interests, including the return of a u.s. citizen who has had been held hostage in the region since last year, we will do it, but we will not do it on the basis of trust or faith. every step we take will be based on what the taliban does, not says. the taliban seeks international legitimacy and support. our message is that will have to be earned. the taliban can do that by meeting the commitments and obligations on freedom of travel, respecting the rights of afghan people including women and minorities, not carrying out reprisal violence on those who choose to stay, and forming an inclusive government that can meet the needs of the afghan people.
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we will continue humanitarian assistance to the people of afghanistan. the conflict has taken a a terrible toll on the afghan people. billions are displaced, facing hunger and starvation. the covid-19 pandemic has also hit afghanistan hard. the u.s. will continue supporting humanitarian aid to the afghan people consistent with sanctions on taliban. that aid will flow through independent agencies, not the afghan government. we expect those efforts not to be impeded by anyone. we will continue the broad international diplomacy across all issues. we think we can accomplish far more and have more leverage when
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we coordinate with allies and partners. in the last two weeks we have had a series of intense diplomatic engagements with allies and partners to forge a way ahead in afghanistan. i met with foreign minister's and have spoken with counterparts. lastly president biden met with , the leaders of the g-7. going forward we will coordinate with countries around the world and with leading organizations and the private sector. allies and partners share our objectives and are committed to working with us. i will have more to say in the coming days. the main point is our work in afghanistan continues. we have a plan for what is next and we are putting it into
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action. the war in afghanistan was a 20 year endeavor. we must allow those lessons to shape our questions about what we think about national security and foreign policy. we owe that to future diplomats, military leaders servicemembers, , and the american people. as we do, we will remain focused on today and the future and make sure we find every opportunity to make good on our commitment to the afghan people. we will honor the brave men and women who have risked and sacrificed their lives as part of this long mission right up until today. thank you for listening.
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-- wherever you get your podcasts. >> house republican leader kevin mccarthy and other gop lawmakers about afghanistan and the u.s. completing its withdrawal after 20 years in the country. they criticize the president's handling of the evacuation of americans afghan allies. this runs 35 minutes. >> thank you for coming back. it has been a tragic two weeks, the culmination watching 13 of our servicemen -- 18 were seriously wounded, and many innocent civilians.

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