President Biden’s gut reaction to the news that a deadly suicide bomb had gone off amid the American evacuation from Afghanistan has been revealed.
At an Afghanistan briefing, Gen. Frank McKenzie of the US Central Command became agitated when he received a piece of paper. The meeting was called in by video and he told it that a bomb had been set off near Hamid Karzai Airport. Four service members were dead, three of them near death, and dozens more were injured.
Biden paused for long while before letting out a gasp. The president stated that “the worst thing that could happen” once he broke silence. This was according to participants in the meeting, as reported by the New York Times.
The final death toll was 13 US soldiers and more than 170 Afghans.
Since then, the Biden Administration’s records have been marred by the event and has shaped the frenetic withdrawal which has drawn criticism from both parties. After the terror group ISIS-K claimed the attack, the US launched a counter-attack drone strike. At first, they claimed to have killed a terrorist. But, later, it was revealed that they killed a family of 10 including children.
He insisted that the president withdraw the remaining 2500 troops from Afghanistan, and end the 20-year conflict. Biden later blamed Trump’s peace agreement with Taliban that he had signed. His successor had pledged to withdraw troops by May.
Biden lauded the withdrawal as an “extraordinary success” on Aug. 31.
Biden dubbed the withdrawal an “extraordinary success” on Aug. 31.
A Afghan pours water in the mouth of another Afghan who has been injured by the suicide attack
Many were left with severe injuries after the attack.
The US troops that were murdered had helped Americans and other allies to flee from the Taliban.
According to the commander-in chief, the operation could not have been conducted in a more orderly fashion and the critics that he shouldn’t have initiated the evacuation earlier would have received resentful remarks.
Also, the president praised the 120,000 Afghans that were safely evacuated in “one of the most important airlifts ever recorded”. He also pledged to continue working for Afghan allies and noted that since March the State Department reached out to the stranded Americans on 19 occasions asking whether they would like to return.
Let me clarify. The deadline of August 31 was not set. Biden explained that the deadline was set up to “save American lives.”
Both McKenzie, as well the chairman of Joint Chiefs Of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, have distanced themselves from Biden’s strategy.
Both said that they had advised Biden to leave a small number of troops in Afghanistan to stave off Taliban control, but the commander-in-chief insisted all needed to be removed.
McKenzie indicated that McKenzie recommended that Afghanistan retain 2,500 troops. After President Obama told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he had never heard anyone advise him to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, McKenzie said he was confident Biden heard it.
I recommended we retain 2,500 troops at Afghanistan …. I am also convinced that withdrawal would cause the Afghan military to collapse and then the government of Afghanistan.
“I was there when the discussion took place and I am confident that President Obama heard every recommendation and listened very carefully to them.”
Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin stated that he thought leaving the last 2,500 troops would have resulted in a battle with Taliban which would have provided an opportunity for a larger troop surge.
“If you were to remain there in the same position of 2,500, you would be fighting with Taliban fighters and you would have to strengthen yourself.”
Milley stated that his “assessment” was done back in the Fall of That we maintain a stable state of 2,500 should be our goal, and it has remained constant throughout. [troops]It could bounce up to 3500 or so, depending on the negotiation process.
Milley stated that a rapid withdrawal of troops without fulfilling specific conditions could result in the loss of substantial gains in Afghanistan. This would damage the U.S. credibility worldwide and lead to a collapse in the Afghan government. Milley also said, “My analysis was that an acceleration in withdrawing forces from Afghanistan without satisfying certain and necessary conditions risks losing significant gains in Afghanistan. It could cause a total Taliban takeover or civil war.”
The president did not know exactly what he said.
He said that, however, on Aug. 25, just 10 days after Kabul was taken by the Taliban, when Biden ordered an assessment of military strategy, the top commanders had reached agreement about the necessity to proceed with withdrawal in order to avoid war.
More than 170 were killed in a suicide attack at the Hamid Karazai International Airport gates on August 1, including one Marine soldier, and one Navy officer.
The Americans who were killed in the attack on Aug. 26 were mostly young men in their military careers. Their ages ranged from 20 to 33. Staff Sgt. Darin Hoover, 31; Cpl. Hunter Lopez 22; Cpl. Daegan Page, 23; Cpl. Humberto Sanchez, 22; Lance Cpl. Jared Schmitz; Lance Cpl. David Espinoza 20; Lance Cpl. Rylee McCCollum, 20. Lance Cpl. Dylan Merola; Lance Cpl. Kareem Naikoui 20; Sergeant. Nicole Gee, 23; Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo is 25. Navy Hospitalman Maxton Soviak is 22. Army Staff Sergeant. Ryan Knauss, 23.
The Senate earlier this month unanimously passed a bill posthumously awarding the Congressional Gold Medal after the House unanimously did the same.
In the Afghanistan War of two decades, there were 2,352 US soldiers who died. This was less than the 66,000 to 69,999 Afghan soldiers who also lost their lives.