"Peril": Blinken and Austin Tried to Delay Afghanistan Withdrawal

Excerpts from the book "Peril" by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, which will be published next Tuesday, show hesitation and division within the US administration regarding the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

  • Excerpts from the book "Peril" show hesitation and division within the US administration regarding Afghanistan.

Excerpts from "Peril", a book by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa indicated that the US Secretary of State and Defense, Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin, attempted to convince President Joe Biden to extend the US military presence in Afghanistan last March, and Biden refused.

The book is scheduled to be released on Tuesday, with most of it published by CNN. The contents detail the Democratic president was determined to end the US' longest war, and the Secretary of State was in agreement with Biden on a full withdrawal.

However, after a meeting with NATO partners in March, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken had proposed to extend the mission with US military personnel for a certain period of time, in order to identify whether this plan might enhance the chances of a political solution between the warring Afghan parties, which in other words means gaining time for negotiations.

According to the book's authors, Blinken called Biden from Brussels to tell him that all NATO ministers demand that the US withdrawal be conditioned on progress in the peace process.

Some countries affiliated with NATO did not hide their reservations about the full US withdrawal decision that was decided under former President Donald Trump and implemented under Biden.

On Monday, Blinken revealed during a parliamentary committee hearing that he reported to President Biden what he had heard from NATO members to allow Biden to reconsider his decision. 

The US Secretary of State explained that "everyone made their point," but in the end, "everyone unanimously supported the idea of withdrawing."

According to the book, last March, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin presented a new proposal for a withdrawal plan consisting of 3 or 4 stages, to enable Washington to pressure the Afghan negotiators, but Biden rejected these recommendations for his fear of sinking in the war in Afghanistan.

It is worth mentioning that the US Secretary of State on Tuesday defended the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in the presence of Congress. Blinken launched a counterattack by blaming former President Donald Trump for the major responsibility of the ongoing situation.