Blame Game: The White House, Pentagon, and State Department are blaming one another for the Afghanistan debacle.
On Sunday, August 15, the Taliban took over the Afghanistan capital city of Kabul. The shocking scene occurred shortly after President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and only two weeks before the U.S. was set to complete its troop withdrawal after a costly two-decade war.
On Monday, August 16, during President Joe Biden’s speech to the nation regarding the crisis in Afghanistan, he mentioned the May 1 withdrawal deadline that former President Donald Trump negotiated with the Taliban. The 46th president also pointed to the failure of trained U.S. Afghan forces to fight, Daily Mail reports.
Biden admits Afghanistan's collapse happened more quickly than anticipated but stands "squarely behind my decision" to withdrawhttps://t.co/wgCLBsl7Rr
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) August 16, 2021
In his official statement, Biden said:
“Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”
Last month, the Intelligence Community warned lawmakers about the “accelerating” pace of Taliban gains.
Nevertheless, diplomats have said they were relying on intelligence assessments that the collapse of Kabul was less than imminent.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 15, 2021
Meanwhile, during a Pentagon press conference in late July, Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned:
“And there is a range of possible outcomes in Afghanistan. … A negative outcome – a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan – is not a foregone conclusion.“
As per CNN, a White House official called Milley’s comments “utter bunk,” while a senior intelligence official stated:
“We have noted the troubling trend lines in Afghanistan for some time, with the Taliban at its strongest, militarily, since 2001. Strategically, a rapid Taliban takeover was always a possibility.“
In the meantime, Defence officials have slammed State Department officials for not taking proper evacuation actions. They claimed they had warned the State Department that a last-minute emergency evacuation would be more difficult the more staffers remained.
Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed the administration “absolutely” did plan for “the possibility that the Taliban would make significant gains throughout the country.”
However, Kirby declined to say whether the President had been notified.
On Tuesday, the spokesman said:
“Could we have predicted every single scenario and every single breach around the perimeter of the airport with only a couple of thousand troops on the ground? Plans are terrific and we take them seriously, but they are not and never have been perfectly predictive.”
There was already 1,000 troops in Kabul; we ordered 3,000 in last week, and the President accepted @SecDef recommendation today to move in the lead battalion of the 82nd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, adding another 1,000.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) August 14, 2021
According to John Bolton, former Trump national security advisor, both the former and the current presidents are to blame for the crisis:
“It’s been a catastrophe and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse. I think Biden does bear primary responsibility for that although you see now fingers being pointed saying Trump didn’t leave us with any plans. We’ll have to see how that shakes out.”
In June, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said:
“Whatever happens in Afghanistan, if there is a significant deterioration in security — that could well happen, we have discussed this before — I don’t think it’s going to be something that happens from a Friday to a Monday.“
Tragically, contrary to Blinken’s beliefs, the current Afghanistan crisis unfolded within just days.
Kabul Airport runway today. No words needed. pic.twitter.com/8SfzEOprUZ
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) August 16, 2021
Former U.S. Navy SEAL Rob O’Neill, the man who shot Osama bin Laden, also blasted the Biden administration over the debacle in Afghanistan, saying:
“This is the worst loss in American history.”
This is real. Wake up. pic.twitter.com/msRC2E6bnw
— Robert J. O'Neill (@mchooyah) August 16, 2021