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Report: Biden Ignored Warning from Commander of US Afghan Forces to Not Withdraw Troops

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President Biden’s narrative of the inevitability of the United States military’s tail-between-its-legs evacuation of Afghanistan last month took a blow Tuesday when Army Gen. Austin Miller, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reportedly told the Senate Armed Services Committee he advised against the withdrawal.

According to Fox News reporters Jacqui Heinrich and Jennifer Griffin, sources said Miller made the comments during a classified hearing.

A series of tweets from Heinrich included a laundry list of unheeded recommendations attributed to the former top general in Afghanistan, who transferred his command to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, in a July 12 ceremony in Kabul. By then, the eventually chaotic withdrawal was well underway, including the disastrous abandonment of Bagram Air Base on July 1.

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Those recommendations included keeping enough troops in the country “to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment,” warnings that intelligence assessments claiming that the country “would fall to the Taliban between 1-3 years” were unrealistic, and saying Biden gave the military little choice but to abandon the strategic air base  “because of constraints and troop caps imposed by the President’s orders.”

Austin’s assessment of the Afghanistan situation and his recommendation the U.S. military not pull out completely stand in sharp contrast to Biden’s repeated claims that the hectic and humiliating U.S. exit from the country — including the loss of 13 service members to a terrorist bomb at the Kabul airport — was a foregone conclusion.

“No,” Biden said when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if the Afghanistan withdrawal could have been handled better or if the administration made any mistakes. “The idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”

And yet little more than a month prior, Biden — prompted by a reporter’s question hinting at a comparison to the fall of Saigon — confidently pronounced, “There’s going to be no circumstances where you see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy in the — of the United States from Afghanistan. It is not at all comparable.”

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Biden’s optimistic appraisal of the situation turned out to be grossly misplaced.

The image of helicopters airlifting U.S. Embassy personnel was an uncomfortable reminder of the chaotic American exit from Vietnam 46 years ago, then as now heralding a worsening regional bloodbath with obvious consequences for American security — and credibility.

Do you believe Joe Biden ignored his own generals' advice on Afghanistan withdrawal?

Had Biden considered Miller’s advice, perhaps there would have been no need for a rapid exit of U.S. forces from Afghanistan followed by a hurried re-insertion of forces as withdrawal plans collapsed under the pressure of a Taliban sweep of the country that occurred much faster than conventional wisdom — or perhaps wishful thinking — suggested.

Had Biden listened to Miller, perhaps the Taliban would have been told the evacuation of all Americans and allies from Afghanistan would take as long as necessary, backed by a credible threat of force prepared to obliterate any Taliban attackers foolish enough to interfere.

Had Biden considered what Miller said, perhaps there would have been a plan, in consultation with allies, for a safe and orderly U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Presumably, that plan would have included making use of the more-defensible Bagram Air Base equipped with modern facilities, as opposed to the reality of the dangerous bottleneck created at the Kabul airport, with its single runway in mountainous surroundings smack dab in the middle of a city of more than 4 million people.

Biden’s claims of inexorable failure in Afghanistan — one of the worst foreign policy collapses in American history — are belied not only by Miller’s reported testimony in the classified Senate hearing, but also by what increasingly appears to be a calculation of political expediency on the president’s part.

Little or no thought, it seems, was given to on-the-ground reality, nor the catastrophic consequences of abandoning Afghanistan to the odious Taliban.

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Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.
Brett Davis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Washington University, has written for newspapers, public policy organizations, a major humanitarian institution and a software company. Brett lives in Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle.




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