No one expected the Afghan government to fall within 11 days, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said a week after the Taliban took control of the country.
Austin added – “It was very difficult to predict it accurately. All this happened in a period of about 11 days. No one expected that the government would fall within 11 days.”
The US Defense Secretary explained that the assessments he had seen before the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan estimated that it might take several months, or a period ranging between one and two years before the Afghan government fell.
He added that US officials saw the Afghan military forces surrender and “evaporate” as the Taliban began to make gains.
When asked if he thought US withdrawal planning was “acceptable and appropriate”, Austin replied, “Yes, based on what we were looking at and the input to the plan,” criticizing the previous administration, which he said caused a situation where there were no “good options.” All the options available to the Biden administration were tough choices.
Austin’s comments come after a week of turmoil in Afghanistan, as the US military worked to evacuate American citizens and Afghan allies from the region amid a growing Taliban offensive.
The Biden administration has been criticized for its handling of the situation in Afghanistan, with many questioning whether it was correct for Biden to move forward with the implementation of his decision to withdraw US forces from the country, which he had taken before the launch of the intense Taliban offensive. Several officials are now calling on the administration to do more to evacuate the Americans and their Afghan allies from the area, according to the newspaper.