Mitt Romney Gets Antony Blinken to Make a Damning Admission

AP Photo/Alex Brandon, Pool

Right now, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is getting (mostly) grilled by Senators on Capitol Hill. The topic of the day is, of course, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan during which 13 American service members and hundreds of Afghans were murdered by a suicide bomber.

To this point, not a single resignation from the Biden administration has been tendered, and Blinken is busy at work gaslighting the American people about what transpired. Yet, while most of the hearing is only serving as an opportunity for grandstanding, Sen. Mitt Romney did elicit one damning admission.

Remember, we only have to go back to Saturday to see Joe Biden claiming that Al Qaeda had been destroyed in Afghanistan. Yet, here’s the Secretary of State admitting that not only does Al Qaeda still exist there, but that the Taliban and the Haqqani network (which basically runs security in the country) are still allied with the terrorist group that took almost 3,000 American lives on 9/11.

That begs the question of what exactly is the strategy going forward is? If the Taliban are not only sympathetic to Al Qaeda but are openly still in a relationship with them, doesn’t that ensure the rise of a threat to the US homeland again? Never mind the impact on other parts of the globe, whether that be Europe, the Middle East, or Africa.

For his part, Blinken is insistent that the Taliban have every incentive to ensure Al Qaeda doesn’t lash out and remains a marginal force. Our smart set truly believes that Islamists are rational actors and will remain such. Personally, I see no reason to think any cooperation will be long-lasting, though. Right now, the Taliban are trying to extract as much cash from us as possible. That is their motivation to cooperate. The moment that carrot no longer exists, Afghanistan will descend into what it was prior to the US invasion.

Without intelligence assets on the ground and a clear unwillingness to act as a check on Al Qaeda’s coming aggression, it’s feeling a lot like 1998 again. The botched withdrawal led to the collapse of the Afghan government, which has put us in this position, and the administration still wants to claim all this as a victory? It’s just an incredible disconnect to witness, and while I have more than my share of issues with Mitt Romney, I give him credit for asking a smart, pointed question here and making some real news.