'Could we have done things differently?' -Blinken orders Afghanistan review

The United States' two decades-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August in which more than 124,000 civilians including Americans, Afghans and others were evacuated as the Taliban took over. But thousands of other U.S.-allied Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution were left behind.

In a speech unveiling new steps to modernize the State Department, Blinken praised the evacuation operation but also said the agency needs to learn from this experience and do better if a similar scenario presents itself in the future.

"There are many things that now, looking back, we can and should ask, 'Could we have done things differently?' 'Could we have taken that step differently?' 'Should we have tried that idea first?' 'Could we have gotten to that decision more quickly?'," Blinken said in the speech at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia, attended by lawmakers, diplomats and others.

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