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Secretary Of State Blinkin Defends The Administration's Position On Afghanistan

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is with us now. Good morning, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: What is the White House saying to criticism of the sort that we just heard from John Bolton?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, well, we did not hear from President Biden yesterday, perhaps surprisingly, as, you know, we have seen helicopters evacuating U.S. personnel and the Taliban taking over the presidential palace. But Biden did send out his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to defend the administration on the Sunday political talk shows. And basically, he echoed what the president had already said in a statement earlier, that the United States succeeded in its mission to hold those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001, and that remaining in the country was not sustainable - also said that after 20 years and trillions of dollars invested to rebuild the Afghan government, the Afghan military, that staying another year or five or 10 was not going to make a difference.

KING: And compounding all of this is the fact that polls show Americans wanted the U.S. out of Afghanistan. This had become very unpopular. What are the potential political consequences for President Biden, and when do you think we're going to hear from him?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, it's unclear when we'll see or hear from the president. He does not have any public events scheduled today. He's pretty much holed up in Camp David, protected from reporters' questions and cameras. He did issue a statement on Saturday, but it does seem like he's going to need to speak soon. As for the political consequences, that may depend on what happens on the ground. You noted the polls show support, but it's a big but. And everything depends on what happens, you know, going forward.

KING: NPR's Franco Ordoñez. Thank you, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.