Pentagon Leaders Blame President Biden’s State Department for Chaotic Afghanistan Evacuation of Civilians
By Fox News // September 29, 2021
ABOVE VIDEO: Secretary of Defense & Joint Chiefs Chair and Others Testify on Afghanistan Withdrawal
(FOX NEWS) – Top Pentagon officials blamed the State Department for not beginning evacuations of civilians from Afghanistan sooner, calling the efforts “chaotic,” while defending the “skill and leadership” of U.S. troops during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday focused on the military withdrawal.
The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan was complete on Aug. 31, after successfully evacuating more than 124,000 individuals from Kabul – including 6,000 American citizens.
Despite the large number of evacuations prior to the withdrawal date, at least 100 American citizens and thousands of Afghan allies remain in Afghanistan.
Pressed on why evacuations did not begin sooner, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said it was a “State Department call.”
“We provide an input, as I said in my opening statement, to the State Department,” Austin said, explaining, though, that officials 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.”
“I think that went into the calculus,” Austin said.
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