Top former US generals claim Biden administration planning blunders caused Kabul's chaos.

Washington— The top two U.S. generals who oversaw Afghanistan's departure after the Taliban took power in August 2021 criticized the Biden administration on Tuesday for failing to organize or direct the exit.

In the latter days of the war, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and U.S. Central Command retired Gen. Frank McKenzie's unprecedented testimony exposed military chiefs' concerns with the Biden administration. The military advised keeping at least 2,500 service members in Afghanistan to ensure stability, but the State Department was moving too slowly to leave.

The remarks contrasted an official White House investigation that determined President Joe Biden's actions were “severely constrained” by former President Donald Trump's departure agreements and faulted the military, claiming top commanders had ample resources to evacuate.

In the final days of the war, a suicide bomber killed 13 U.S. service members at Kabul airport's Abbey Gate.Thousands of terrified Afghans and Americans tried to escape on U.S. military planes. Before the last U.S. plane left, the troops rescued 130,000 civilians.

Milley and McKenzie told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the State Department confused it by evacuating U.S. personnel late.Milley said the Department of State ordered the non-combatant evacuation operation on August 14 and the U.S. military notified, marshalled, mobilized, and deployed faster than any other military.

“The fundamental mistake, the fundamental flaw was the State Department timing,” Milley said. Too slow and late.”The National Security Council denied the generals' assertions in a lengthy statement late Tuesday, saying Biden's tough choice was the right one and part of his plan to finish America's longest war.

The NSC said the president “was not going to send another generation of troops to fight and die in a conflict that had no end in sight”. We have also proved that combating terrorism does not need a constant troop presence in harm's way.”The NSC stated that the president and first wife mourn Abbey Gate casualties and are “enormously proud of the men and women of our military, our diplomats and the intel community who conducted that withdrawal.”

In a hearing caused by a protracted House Foreign Affairs Committee probe into the evacuation of Kabul, McKenzie emphasized his displeasure with how little seemed ready for an evacuation, even sharing those concerns with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

McKenzie said the Pentagon pressured the State Department for evacuation arrangements weeks and months before the Taliban took Kabul.McKenzie termed State's timing “the fatal flaw that created what happened in August.” “We had forces in the region as early as 9 July, but we could do nothing” without State ordering the evacuation.

McKenzie said, “I believe the events of mid and late August 2021 were the direct result of delaying the (evacuation) for several months, until we were in extremis and the Taliban had overrun the country. Milley, the nation's highest military official, recommended President Joe Biden to keep 2,500 personnel there to support Afghanistan's special forces and keep the U.S. military at Bagram Air Base to respond to Taliban strikes.

Biden chose a 650-strong residual force to secure the U.S. embassy over the larger one. The Taliban quickly captured Bagram from that weaker army.The Taliban took over Afghanistan when the U.S. withdrew, nearly eliminating women and girls' rights.

Last year, the White House found that President Joe Biden was “constrained” by Trump's past agreements to evacuate forces, triggering the disorderly withdrawal.The 2023 internal probe further blamed the U.S. military's possible crucial decision for the Aug. 26, 2021, suicide bombing at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

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