Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley privately blamed the State Department for the U.S.’s botched evacuation from Afghanistan during a classified briefing with Senate lawmakers Tuesday, accusing Biden administration officials of waiting too long to sign off on operations out of Kabul’s chief airport, according to a report.
Those private remarks were far more blunt than Milley’s public testimony, in which the nation’s top general said the issue of whether the order should have been given earlier is an “open question that needs further exploration.” […] A senior State Department official pointed to the fact that, as Milley himself repeatedly testified, nobody believed that the Afghan security forces would collapse in 11 days.
Milley’s comes came prior to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin publicly blaming the State Department for the hasty evacuation from Afghanistan.
“The call on how to do that and when to do it is really a State Department call,” Austin told Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) during an House Armed Services panel hearing.
“Their concerns rightfully were that, No. 1, they were being cautioned by the Ghani administration that if they withdrew American citizens and SIV applicants at a pace that was too fast, it would cause a collapse of the government that we were trying to prevent. And so, I think that went into the calculus,” the Pentagon chief added. “A number of things kind of came together to cause what happened to happen. But again, we provided our input and we certainly would have liked to seen it go faster or sooner.”