DHS Blinken rejects the Pentagon’s suggestion that the State Department was responsible for delaying the Afghanistan;
“I don’t think anyone can say that we took any of the decisions that we took alone — one agency making the decision,” Blinken said Thursday while traveling in Pittsburgh. “We did it together.”
- “We began thinking about the possibilities of a noncombatant evacuation as far back as this spring,” Austin told the Senate Armed Services Committee . “As for when we started evacuations, we offered input to State to the State Department’s decision, mindful of their concerns”
- Moving too soon might actually cause the very collapse of the Afghan government that we all wanted to avoid and that moving too late would put our people and our operations at greater risk.
- And as I said, the fact that our troops were on the ground so quickly is due in large part to our planning and our pre-positioning of forces.”
- Milley was more emphatic in a subsequent classified hearing, telling lawmakers Blinken’s team “waited too long” to initiate the evacuation operation.
- The timing of that effort, in conjunction with the Taliban’s conquest of every major Afghan city within 11 days in August, left U.S. forces in the dangerous position of trying to extract Western officials and diplomats from Kabul under the gaze of Taliban militants and incoming attacks from Islamic State’s Afghanistan affiliate.