The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSOC), Gen. Mark Milley, said that many scenarios of the consequences of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan were considered, but none of them pointed to the possibility of a collapse of the country’s forces within 11 days. U.S. President Joe Biden said U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan until all Americans are evacuated, even if that means staying there after the adopted withdrawal date of August 31.
“ If US citizens remain, we will stay until we take them all away, ” U.S. President Joe Biden told ABC News in an interview on a day when many congressmen pressed him to extend the deadline he set for the final withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
However, Biden made it clear that his goal was to complete the evacuation by August 31, but if that did not happen, the troops would have to stay longer.
General Milley on the sudden collapse of the Afghan army
Among other things, the New York Times reported earlier this week that the intelligence services had warned the Joe Biden administration of the possible rapid collapse of Afghan forces and authorities. – There were many possible scenarios presented. One was the rapid takeover of control by the Taliban, said General Mark Milley, Chief of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSOC).
“But the timelines for these scenarios were very broad, from weeks to months after we left. There was nothing to indicate the collapse of Afghan forces within 11 days, Milley said. As he added, neither he nor anyone else foresaw it.
The highest-ranking American military said that the current evacuation action will probably be the second largest in US history. As he reported, more than five thousand people have been evacuated so far, but the opportunities will increase every day. Currently, approximately 20 C-17 military transport planes take off from Kabul airport every day. Besides, civil and military machines from other countries still fly out of the airport.
Negotiations at the airport in Kabul
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin added that he was aware that in addition to evacuating the Americans, the US had a moral obligation to “help those who helped us”, including Afghan collaborators. He added that the action will last as long as possible.
He also stated that negotiations on ensuring safe access to the airport were still ongoing at the airport in Kabul. Gen. Milley added that the US has the resources to ensure it otherwise in the event of failure. Austin noted, however, that the military did not have the capacity to transport large numbers of people to the airport.
More people are trying to get to the airport in Kabul
The same problem and reports that the Taliban is blocking access to the airport was addressed on Wednesday by US deputy head of diplomacy Wendy Sherman. She said the US “made it clear to the Taliban that it expected to admit anyone wishing to travel to the airport.” She admitted that the Islamists have not fulfilled their promise so far.
She also added that despite the Taliban’s actions, a lot of people, including Afghans, continue to arrive at the airport. She emphasized that so far no information has reached her that the Taliban prevent US citizens from reaching the airport. Sherman also said that representatives of 109 countries had called for evacuation.
Main photo source: FRENCH DEFENSE MINISTRY / PAP / EPA