President Joe Biden apparently refused to heed a warning from General Austin Miller, the Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2018 through July of this year, in the botched withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan. It has been reported that General Miller strongly pushed back against the intelligence that indicated the Afghan military could hold off the Taliban for one to three years. Miller believed that the military and government would collapse much faster.
Jacqui Heinrich, a Fox News reporter, said that the general made the remarks during a classified Senate Armed Services Committee hearing early this week, according to multiple sources who were present in the hearing.
Heinrich wrote, “According to two members present for the hearing, Gen. Miller passed his recommendations through the chain of command — that the US should keep a level of troops on the ground (2500 was the number at the time) in order to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment.” The Fox News reported continued, “Miller’s view was troops should maintain holding pattern – potentially supplemented by add’l forces from allied nations – given the threat. Miller shared no recommendation on how long forces should have stayed, making clear he didn’t know what the end timeline would be.”
The report from Fox News also indicated that Miller strongly disagreed with the intel assessment that the government in Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban within one to three years after the withdrawal. He believed it would happen significantly faster. But when his recommendation was rebuffed, he said that his job was to execute the withdrawal order. This led to decisions like abandoning Bagram because of the constraints and troop caps that had been imposed by the president’s orders.
There was another Fox News reporter that indicated General Miller repeatedly warned President Biden about the situation and his recommendations.
After the president ordered the pullout, there were frightening images of people trying to jump on moving airplanes and falling off airplanes. There were 13 U.S. soldiers killed in a terrorist attack and hundreds of Americans were left behind in the country. It was also reported that an innocent family was killed in a bad drone strike.
Biden repeatedly ignores the recommendations of those around him. After all, why would we walk away from a fight when we know that we can win? We were ordered to get out of the war instead of doing all that we could. We moved everything out of the Afghanistan bases, though we still managed to leave significant amounts behind. And, it is General Miller who is consistently charged with answering why we withdrew when it was he who suggested we stay.
These questions may include: Can the Taliban be trusted in their promise not to allow international terrorist groups like Al-Qaida to use the country as a sanctuary? Did the 20 years that the United States gave to Afghanistan create enough progress to avoid another civil war? What will happen to those who aligned themselves with U.S. and NATO enterprises, especially Afghan interpreters and civil society and women’s rights groups?
President Biden was asked in an interview last month whether his military advisers suggested that he keep a residual force in Afghanistan to avoid a total collapse. The president told interviewer George Stephanopoulos “No. No one said that to me.”
But Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday after the closed briefing that “we heard enough to know that there are inconsistencies between what the administration has said and the truth.”
It’s hard to know what’s worse. Is it that Biden isn’t listening to the recommendations or that he doesn’t even remember being given recommendations?