Jake Sullivan: the Biden insider at the center of the Afghanistan crisis

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On the afternoon of 30 August, a White House aide brought a note into the Oval Office confirming that the last US military plane had left Afghan airspace, marking the moment America’s longest war had come to an end.Joe Biden was with a team of advisers and on receiving the news he asked two of them, secretary of state Tony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, to accompany him to his private dining room to mark the moment with a call to the defence secretary, Lloyd Austin.Blinken has been a constant presence at Biden’s side since 2002. By contrast, before he joined the 2020 campaign, Sullivan had worked for Biden for just 18 months, and that was six years earlier as the then vice-president’s national security adviser. His whole career on the national stage before then had been as Hillary Clinton’s right hand man.The 30 August phone call – at the president’s side, at the end of two decades of war – was confirmation that he had arrived as a true Bide
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