Tuesday 21 May 2024

Top General Warned Biden Admin Ahead Of Afghanistan Withdrawal; Says Washington Didn’t Get ‘The Risk’

 Retired Gen. Austin Miller, the former top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, warned the Biden administration that Afghanistan would get “very bad, very fast” when American troops began to withdraw.

Miller’s warnings, which went largely unheeded by the White House, were revealed to House investigators last month when the former top U.S. general testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee as part of a GOP-led investigation into the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. The chaotic withdrawal – begun in February 2020 and completed in August of that year – contributed to the deaths of 13 U.S. service members in a terror attack outside of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.

Miller played a part in organizing and executing the withdrawal, though his term ended in July 2021 before the pullout was completed. The retired general told committee investigators last month that he was bothered by the White House’s “lack of understanding of the risk” that he attempted to impart, according to The Washington Post, which obtained a transcript of his testimony.

The retired general warned a Marine Corps commander in charge of contingency planning to prepare for “really adverse conditions” if an evacuation became necessary. President Joe Biden declared an evacuation on August 14 in the final weeks of the withdrawal as a Taliban blitz recaptured nearly the entire country.

“I did not foresee a good future for Afghanistan as I was departing,” Miller said. He added that he regretted not being more assertive in making Washington take his views and concerns seriously.

The U.S. was largely restricted to Kabul’s airport in the final weeks of the withdrawal after a hurried pullout from the rest of the country left billions of dollars worth of equipment behind, many Afghans who worked with the U.S. during its two-decade occupation and fight against terror groups, and hundreds of American citizens.

On August 26, 2021, days before the withdrawal ended, an ISIS-K terrorist blew himself up near Hamid Karzai International Airport’s Abbey Gate. The blast killed 13 U.S. service members and about 170 Afghans. The terrorist was previously an inmate at Bagram Airfield, which the U.S. abandoned during the withdrawal and the Taliban later took control of. The terrorist was released from the Bagram prison by the Taliban.

The Biden administration continues to stand by its decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, calling the pullout the right “correct policy choice.”

“All the evidence is coming back. Do you remember what I said about Afghanistan?” Biden told reporters last year. “I said al Qaeda would not be there. I said it wouldn’t be there. I said we’d get help from the Taliban. What’s happening now? What’s going on? Read your press. I was right.”

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