OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Joe Biden’s narrative on the Afghanistan evacuation took a hit this week when Army Gen. Austin Miller, who was the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, gave some news to the Senate.
Fox News reporters Jacqui Heinrich and Jennifer Griffin said that during a classified hearing Miller told the Senate that he “advised against the Afghanistan withdrawal.”
“THREAD with reporting from me and @JenGriffinFNC: Gen. Austin Miller, former Commander of US forces-Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a classified hearing yesterday he advised against the Afghanistan withdrawal, two sources confirm to me,” Heinrich said on Twitter.
🚨NEW, THREAD with reporting from me and @JenGriffinFNC : Gen. Austin Miller, former Commander of US forces-Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a classified hearing yesterday he advised against the Afghanistan withdrawal, two sources confirm to me.
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) September 15, 2021
“According to two members present for the hearing, Gen Miller passed his recommendations through the chain of command — that the US should keep a level of troops on the ground (2500 was the number at the time) in order to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment,” she said.
“Miller’s view was troops should maintain holding pattern – potentially supplemented by add’l forces from allied nations – given the threat. Miller shared no recommendation on how long forces should have stayed, making clear he didn’t know what the end timeline would be.
“Miller also said that he strongly dissented with the intel assessment that Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban between 1-3 years, saying he thought it would go much, much faster,” the Fox News reporter said.
“Miller also said once his recommendation was turned down, it became his job to execute on the withdrawal order – and eventually, decisions like abandoning Bagram were made because of constraints and troop caps imposed by the President’s orders.
“For example, the 1k soldiers at Bagram were essentially forced out because they had no life support, and none was coming – because of President’s withdrawal timeline and troop cap,” she said.
Biden was asked by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos if the Afghanistan withdrawal could have been handled any better or if any mistakes were made, to which Biden said “No.”
“The idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens,” Biden said.
But that does not correlate with what Miller reportedly said to the Senate.
Heinrich said that Gen. Milley made an “impassioned plea” to keep some troops in Afghanistan and it fell on deaf ears.
She said it “further makes case POTUS rebuffed commanders, pressed on w/ full withdrawal against advice.”
Miller had the opportunity to present his views to Biden and they were included in the Chairman of Joint Chief’s presentations to the National Security Council before Biden made his decision. He also met with Biden after his trip to Kabul.
Biden made certain to have troops withdrawn from Afghanistan by August 31, which the Taliban said was a red line.
“It is a red line,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Sky News, referring to the deadline set by Biden. “President Biden announced that on 31 August, they would withdraw all their military forces.”
Shaheen warned that any extension of the deadline constituted “extending occupation while there is no need for that.”
“It will create mistrust between us,” Shaheen said in the interview. “If they are intent on continuing the occupation … it will provoke a reaction.”
NEW: The Taliban has met with our Sky News team in Doha & issued a stark warning about troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by 31st August:
“It’s a red line”
“If they are intent on continuing the occupation it will provoke a reaction” pic.twitter.com/6nUUZFT91F
— SallyLockwood (@sallylockwood) August 23, 2021
As Afghanistan has collapsed and been taken over by the Taliban, Biden has not handled questions very well about his catastrophic decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region.
While speaking from the White House, Biden was clearly peeved after a reporter asked him if he trusts the Taliban since his administration has done essentially nothing to prevent the terrorist organization from taking over Afghanistan and its capital city of Kabul.
“Do you trust the Taliban?” a reporter asked.
“I don’t trust anybody including you. I love you but there’s not a lot of people I trust,” Biden said.