The Pentagon’s top general on Wednesday defended the US military’s response to the Taliban’s breakneck takeover in Afghanistan, saying no one could have foreseen the collapse of US-trained Afghan troops so quickly.
“There was nothing I, or anyone else, saw that indicated a collapse of this military and this government in 11 days,” said General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs.
“The Afghan security forces had the capacity, and by that I mean they had the training, the size and the capacity to defend their country. This comes down to a matter of will and leadership,” he added.
The US military and administration of President Joe Biden are under political attack domestically over the defeat of Afghan forces by the Taliban with little battle and the collapse of the US-backed government of President Ashraf Ghani over the weekend.
The speed seemed to overwhelm the US government, launching a rapid evacuation operation for US citizens and granting Afghans special visas for their work for US troops.
About 5,000 US troops have flown to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul since Saturday to lead the evacuations of thousands.
Critics have accused the State Department, U.S. intelligence and the Pentagon for failing to anticipate the debacle, rather preparing for the evacuation, which involves more than 10,000 U.S. citizens.
Douglas London, the CIA’s former counter-terrorism chief for South Asia and then adviser to Biden’s presidential campaign, said US intelligence had predicted that the Taliban would defeat Afghan forces and that the government could be defeated within days. would capitulate.
Those forecasts were “marked for both Trump officials and future Biden officials,” London wrote on the Just Security website on Wednesday.
(This story was not edited by NewsMadura staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)