After Afghanistan, Blinken Tells Officials: ‘Try and See Around the Corner’


Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday urged State Department officials to ”try and see around the corner to the crises and challenges of tomorrow” after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

”Part of our responsibility as diplomats is to perpetually reflect on how we engage with the rest of the world and to ask some very basic questions: Are we making our nation safer, more secure? Are we advancing our interests? Are we living up to our values?” Blinken said at the State Department.

Blinken also acknowledged the ”13 men and women who were killed in a terrorist attack a few weeks ago as we brought that war to an end.”

Republicans have blamed President Joe Biden, a Democrat, for events surrounding the collapse of Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government and the takeover by the militant Islamist Taliban, but the president a week after the Kabul blast rejected criticism of his decision to end the war, calling the withdrawal an ”extraordinary success.”

”When I hear we could have, should have continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan, at low risk to our service members, at low cost,” Mr. Biden said in the 26-minute speech, ”I don’t think enough people understand how much we’ve asked of the 1% of this country who put that uniform on.

”There’s nothing low-grade or low-risk or low-cost about any war,” he continued. ”It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”

Blinken, who is set to address the House Foreign Affairs and the Senate Foreign Relations committees next week as lawmakers examine the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, also said officials have ”a responsibility to continue asking them now to more effectively tackle the challenges that we face today, to try and see around the corner to the crises and challenges of tomorrow, to make sure we’re doing all we can to deliver for our fellow citizens.”