In early July, President Biden assured the American people that the Afghan army was holding the line against the Taliban as the U.S. withdrew troops, but U.S. intelligence agencies, the Pentagon and the independent U.S. watchdog for Afghanistan provided plenty of information to the president and his inner circle that showed otherwise.
“I trust the capacity of the Afghan military, who is better trained, better equipped, and more competent in terms of conducting war,” the president declared from the White House on July 8.
But investigative reporter John Solomon of Just the News, after interviewing a dozen U.S. officials and reviewing several hundred pages of memos and reports, found Biden had ample evidence that the Afghan army would quickly fall to the Taliban.
Solomon said the “unsubstantiated storyline of a capable Afghan army was delivered from the podiums of the White House to the Pentagon.”
“They have the advantage. They have numerous advantages,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters last month, propping up the Afghan army. ‘”They have better capabilities than the Taliban in the air and on the ground. And they are certainly going to continue to have American support financially, logistically and through assistance and maintenance.
“It’s really going to come down to their ability and their willingness to use those advantages to their benefit,” Kirby said.
However, John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction and a lifelong Democrat, warned in a memo available to the public as well as Biden’s inner circle that Afghans couldn’t handle re-fueling operations, their soldiers were prone to defections and their fighter jets were far less ready than the American military commanders had portrayed.
Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials reduced their classified confidence assessments in the Afghan army, concluding Afghanistan could fall to the Taliban in weeks, not months.
“There was no secret that the Afghan army was crumbling, and there was little adjustment on our part, just resignation,” one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Just the News
Michael Flynn: ‘Lying through their teeth’
Michael Flynn, Trump’s onetime national security adviser, who spent nearly a decade working on Afghanistan as an Army general and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, charged the Biden administration misled Americans.
The U.S., he told the “John Solomon Reports” podcast, was well aware that Afghan forces might collapse quickly.
“This is not something that suddenly snuck up on us. It might have snuck up on Joe Biden, and maybe some of our senior military leaders, although it would be I think, they would be lying through their teeth,” he said.
“If they were put in front of an open hearing in Congress, they would be lying through their teeth, if they were to say anything,” Flynn continued. “… And this business about not not sensing that it could happen this fast is ridiculous.”
The Guardian newspaper of London noted Sunday in a report about the incompetence of the Afghan army that one week before Biden said Afghanistan would not be overrun, the independent Afghan Analysts Network reported the Taliban had captured 127 of the 420 district centers, about 25% of the total. And by July 21, Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, said the figure was more than half.
On Tuesday, DailyMail.com reported an entry from the diary of President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the late Richard Holbrooke, indicated Biden insisted the U.S. had to leave Afghanistan regardless of the cost for the Afghan people.
According to Holbrooke, when Biden was asked about America’s obligation to maintain a presence in Afghanistan to protect vulnerable civilians, he scornfully replied by referencing the U.S. exit from southeast Asia in 1973.
“F*** that, we don’t have to worry about that. We did it in Vietnam, Nixon and Kissinger got away with it,” Biden said, according to Holbrooke.
Amid bipartisan criticism, Biden defended his decision and handling of the withdrawal in a speech to the nation Monday, blaming others for the collapse while saying it “did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
‘We were clear-eyed going in’
Solomon noted that the chairmain of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, said Tuesday “the American and Afghan people clearly have not been told the truth about the [Afghan army’s] capacity and deserve answers.”
At the daily briefing at the White House on Tuesday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed the White House was aware of the possibility of a quick collapse.
“We were clear-eyed going in when we made this decision that it was possible that the Taliban would end up in control of Afghanistan,” he said.
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