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As video emerged on Sunday of military helicopters landing near the U.S. embassy in Kabul to rapidly evacuate U.S. personnel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured: "This is manifestly not Saigon."

Driving the news: Blinken made the rounds on the Sunday shows to defend President Biden's resolute withdrawal of the U.S. military as Kabul nears complete surrender to the Taliban.

  • Jonathan Karl, the host of ABC's "This Week," asked Blinken whether the U.S. evacuation was comparable to Americans being airlifted from the U.S. embassy in Saigon in 1975.
  • "Let's take a step back. This is manifestly not Saigon," said Blinken, who argued: “In terms of what we set out to do in Afghanistan, we’ve done it.”
  • Biden announced Saturday that approximately 5,000 additional U.S. troops will be deployed to assist with drawdown of U.S. personnel and other allies as they evacuate the region. Of those, 3,000 were already announced, 1,000 were already in Kabul and 1,000 additional troops will arrive from the 82nd Airborne Division directly in Kabul.

What he's saying: When asked on NBC's "Meet the Press" why Biden didn't delay the deal struck by President Trump on a 2021 withdrawal, Blinken said: "Because we inherited a deadline. ... Come May 2, if the president had decided to stay, all gloves would have been off. We would have been back at war."

  • Biden blamed Trump, for empowering the Taliban and leaving them "in the strongest position militarily since 2001" but said in a statement that he had to make a choice and that he would not pass on the war to a "fifth" U.S. president.
  • Blinken also said on "Meet the Press" that the United States would have a "core diplomatic presence" in Kabul, adding: "In effect, an embassy at a location at the airport."

Go deeper: Behind the scenes of the Biden administration as the U.S. ditches Kabul

Go deeper

Oct 13, 2021 - World

Biden administration leans into Abraham Accords

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (R) meets with Vice President Kamala Harris (L). Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty

The trilateral meeting on Wednesday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the foreign ministers of Israel and the United Arab Emirates epitomized the Biden administration's belated embrace of the Abraham Accords.

Why it matters: The normalization deals struck between Israel and four Arab countries were Donald Trump's landmark foreign policy achievement, and while the Biden administration has long said it wants to push them forward, it has only recently started taking steps in that direction.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

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