The US Military Deeply Frustrated by Biden's Withdrawal from Afghanistan

The US Military Deeply Frustrated by Biden's Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Senior Army officials were frustrated by the inability of the State Department and White House to recognize the imminent security threat that led to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to a 2,000-page Army investigation.

The investigation was launched because of the August 26 killings of 13 U.S. military personnel and 170 Afghan civilians, according to the Washington Post's Freedom of Information Act request.

Two senior U.S. defense officials confirmed to Fox News that the Army's report is accurate.

During sworn testimony, military officials involved in the withdrawal described fundamental differences between the Department of Defense (DOD) and the State Department that may have put the service members securing Hamid Karzai International Airport at risk.

The top U.S. commander on the ground during the evacuation, Rear Admiral Peter Vasely, told Army investigators that policymakers "should have paid attention to what was happening on the ground." 

The US struck a contract with the Taliban to remove all troops from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. It was pushed back by four months to September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the attacks that started the longest war in U.S. history.  

They started planning a mass evacuation that summer but didn't anticipate Kabul falling so fast. The U.S. military had privately complained for months that the State Department and the American embassy did not move quickly enough to issue Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) and begin evacuations of Afghan allies.

Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan, who helped plan the evacuation and supervised Marines in Kabul, said the number of evacuees expected differed from reality. 

The Taliban took Kabul on August 15.

Sullivan, in mid-July, asked for supplies to be sent to the Kabul airport to prepare for a mass evacuation, but it didn't work out.

Marine officials were not allowed to discuss the possibility of a mass evacuation with anyone, but British officials said the report. 

Additionally, there were months of disagreement over evacuating the U.S. embassy in Kabul. 

According to Sullivan, collaborating with the embassy in Kabul on an evacuation plan was nearly impossible. However, the embassy began to cooperate by early August.

A Washington Post investigation of raw transcripts of 2,000 pages of interviews found Vasely was told to explain to the ambassador how the withdrawal decisions became territorial in those final days and weeks of the war.