President Joe Biden’s administration didn’t see any indication that the Afghan military and government would fall to the Taliban in 11 days, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley claimed Wednesday.
Milley said that the U.S. military foresaw three potential options for events following the U.S. withdrawal. One was a speedy fall of the Afghan government; another was a protracted civil war between Afghan forces and the Taliban, and a third was a peace agreement with the two factions. Milley clarified that while the administration saw a speedy fall to the Taliban as a possibility, there were no indications that it could fall so fast as 11 days.
“The time frame of a rapid collapse, that was widely estimated. It ranged from weeks to months and even years following our departure,” Milley said. “There was nothing that I, or anyone else, saw that indicated a collapse of [the Afghan] army and this government in 11 days.”
MILLEY: “There was nothing that I, or anyone else, saw that indicated a collapse of [the Afghan] army and this government in 11 days.” pic.twitter.com/EemiwCVHFd
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 18, 2021
Milley’s statement appeared to contradict messaging from Biden and the White House that the administration had planned for “every contingency” for the withdrawal. (RELATED: 7 Killed In Kabul Airport As Chaos Ensues. Flights Suspended, Then Restarted)
“My national security team and I have been closely monitoring the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and moving quickly to execute the plans we had put in place to respond to every [contingency] including the rapid collapse we’re seeing now,” Biden stated Monday.
Biden’s critics have described the pullout from Afghanistan as a national embarrassment, with many making comparisons to the fall of Saigon in 1975. Even with more than 4,000 troops deployed to the Kabul airport, the U.S. military has warned citizens still in Afghanistan that it cannot ensure their safe passage to the airport for evacuation.
Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse described the administration’s apparent lack of a plan to safely evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghan allies as “unacceptable.”
“The White House’s politically-driven timetable cannot outweigh American lives. America’s message, to our friends and to the Taliban, should be crystal clear: We will move heaven and earth to get every last American in Afghanistan back to American soil, period. That’s the only answer,” Sasse said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller.
Sullivan and White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly declined to say whether Biden would fully withdraw U.S. troops on Aug. 31 even if some Americans remained unevacuated.
Americans and the world watched images of throngs of Afghans crowding runways in an attempt to escape on American planes. Biden vowed in July that such images were not a possibility.
‘The likelihood there’s going to be the Taliban overrunning everything and owning the whole country [of Afghanistan] is highly unlikely,” Biden confidently proclaimed in July. “There’s going to be no circumstance where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy.”