General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, who is now retired , is now speaking out a year after Biden’s orders where carried out…..
And he also throws blame on the US Military….
President Donald Trump wanted to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan ….
A place the American military had been in for over 20 years….
They had arrived there after the US and NATO had helped the Taliban get rid of the Russians….
The American militay effort there had been half assed there….
Fighting the Taliban against a ‘democratic’ Governm,ent in that country that was corrupt and heavily dependant on America , and towards the end not really popular with the people of the country….
President Biden , to the amazement of the US and NATO General’s followed thru with Trump’s effort to leave the country….
Told his military to pack up and leave ….
The move turned out to be a messy embarrassment for Biden and West (And the Military) that Biden’s poll number have not recovered form and one might say has caused Biden foreign affairs angst from Russian and China….
But it’s still notable that one of the prominent figures speaking out now is General Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, who oversaw the American departure as the head of the U.S. Central Command. He retired in April 2022.
In a pair of interviews with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly and Politico’s Lara Seligman, McKenzie blamed every administration from 2001 onward for mismanaging the conflict and said he would have kept 2,500 American troops on the ground “indefinitely.”
McKenzie told Kelly the United States lost its way in Afghanistan, cited specific things the United States should have done differently last year, and seemingly called out Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
- The withdrawal, completed Aug. 31, had three significant setbacks. Not all Americans who wanted to leave got out. A terrorist attack at Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. troops and scores of Afghans. And many locals who partnered with American forces over 20 years of war against the Taliban were left behind in a country controlled by that Islamist group.
Over the long term, the chief question is whether the United States can prevent the country from once again becoming a haven for terrorists eager to strike America or its allies.
“We got well over 120,000 people out. And that’s the good news story,” McKenzie told NPR. But leaving Afghans behind was “the bad news story” that “still haunts me to this day.”
“They had every expectation that we would bring them out,” he said. “We did not, and we were unable to do that.”
The withdrawal was a signature Biden campaign issue in 2020. And he declared in a February interview that year with Margaret Brennan of CBS he believed the United States would have “zero responsibility” for what happened on the ground after withdrawing….
Here’s what McKenzie identified to NPR as things that went wrong with the withdrawal:
- Difficulties processing those who wanted to leave. “It took a while, frankly, for our consular officials to get there in the numbers needed to handle the press of people that were outside” the airport, said McKenzie.
- “We should have begun to bring people out much earlier, rather than waiting until the very end,” he said. “And that would have been in the Spring, even, we should have begun to do that…
In his broader diagnosis of the war, McKenzie identified a kind of mission creep, as the initial goal of hunting down Osama bin Laden after 9/11 and leaving al-Qaeda unable to attack America swelled into an effort to impose a kind of government that couldn’t take root there.
- “I don’t believe Afghanistan is ungovernable,” he said. “I believe Afghanistan is ungovernable with the Western model that [was] imposed on it … We lost track of why we were there, and we did not keep the main thing the main thing.”
The chain of command responsible for that stretches back two decades. And while Biden has affirmed that U.S. officials lied about the way the war was going, the United States doesn’t really have the culture or infrastructure required for that kind of mass accountability….