Friday, May 3, 2024

Biden Pursued Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal Against Diplomats’ Advice: Ex-Negotiator; Top Former US Generals Say Failures of Biden Admin in Planning Drove Chaotic Fall of Kabul; US Greenlit Taliban's Kabul Takeover and Had No Contingency Plan When Hell Broke Loose, Former Envoy Says

Biden pursued botched Afghanistan withdrawal against diplomats’ advice: ex-negotiator:
President Biden ignored the counsel of senior US diplomats – including Secretary of State Antony Blinken – who urged him not to pull US troops out of Afghanistan without certain conditions in place, former Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in a transcribed interview released Wednesday.
While the withdrawal was set in motion by former President Donald Trump as part of the 2020 Doha Agreement involving the US and Afghan governments and the Taliban, Khalilzad — who helped negotiate that deal — testified that Biden could have stopped or altered the plan to remove all US forces from Afghanistan by September 2021.
“The State Department — or the secretary and myself, we wanted a conditional withdrawal approach,” he said. “But the ultimate decision was, as we all know, that it was to withdraw based on a timetable.”
Biden could have demanded that the Taliban and Afghanistan government reach a separate peace agreement before US troops left the country, which Khalilzad said was his recommendation.
“Secretary Blinken and I, I believe, did recommend that conditionality. That’s my judgment, that conditionality would be the prudent thing to do,” Kalilzad told the committee in his Nov. 8 interview. “But then the response was, ‘Can you get the other side – the Talibs – not to go back to fighting?”
Such an agreement could have been based on an early 2021 peace negotiation that Khalilzad said visualized a “peace government,” which would have given the Taliban an equal share of power over Kabul with the Western-backed Afghan government. --->READ MORE HERE
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Top Former US Generals Say Failures of Biden Administration in Planning Drove Chaotic Fall of Kabul
The top two US generals who oversaw the evacuation of Afghanistan as it fell to the Taliban in August 2021 blamed the Biden administration for the chaotic departure, telling lawmakers Tuesday that it inadequately planned for the evacuation and did not order it in time.
The rare testimony by former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and US Central Command retired Gen. Frank McKenzie publicly exposed for the first time the strain and differences the military leaders had with the Biden administration in the final days of the war.
Two of those key differences included that the military had advised that the US keep at least 2,500 service members in Afghanistan to maintain stability and a concern that the State Department was not moving fast enough to get an evacuation started.
The remarks also contrasted with an internal White House review of the administration’s decisions which found that President Joe Biden’s decisions had been “severely constrained” by previous withdrawal agreements negotiated by former President Donald Trump and blamed the military, saying top commanders said they had enough resources to handle the evacuation.
Thirteen US service members were killed by a suicide bomber at the Kabul airport's Abbey Gate in the final days of the war, as the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
Thousands of panicked Afghans and US citizens desperately tried to get on US military flights that were airlifting people out. In the end the military was able to rescue more than 130,000 civilians before the final US military aircraft departed.
That chaos was the end result of the State Department failing to call for an evacuation of US personnel until it was too late, Milley and McKenzie told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories:

+++++US Greenlit Taliban's Kabul Takeover and Had No Contingency Plan When Hell Broke Loose, Former Envoy Says+++++

Committee Releases Fifth Tranche of Afghanistan Interview Documents

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