The Biden administration had planned for “all contingencies” in Afghanistan before the U.S. troop withdrawal, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Tuesday when asked whether the handling of the extraction was “incompetent.”
“When you conclude 20 years of military action in a civil war in another country, with the impacts of 20 years of decisions that have piled up, you have to make a lot of hard calls, none with clean outcomes,” Sullivan said in defending the decision to pull U.S troops from the country, a move that led to the Taliban’s rapid takeover of Kabul.
“What you can do is plan for all contingencies. We did that,” he added.
“The American forces now on the ground … are there because of contingency planning and drilling we did over the course of months, preparing for a range of scenarios, including dire scenarios. President Biden ordered many battalions to be pre-positioned in theater, and he activated them for deployment before the fall of Kabul. He also put additional battalions on a short string here in the United States.
“Those battalions have now flown in as well. Yes, there were chaotic scenes yesterday, but as [Pentagon spokesman] Admiral [John] Kirby said, even well-drawn plans don’t survive first contact with reality and they require adjustments. We have made those adjustments. We will stay in close touch with our allies and partners in the days ahead as we contend with the immediate need to complete the evacuation mission and as we deal with a broader challenges posed by the new reality in Afghanistan. And we will remain persistently vigilant against the terrorism threat in Afghanistan and in multiple other theaters across multiple continents. We have proven in other places that we can suppress terrorism without a permanent military presence on the ground, and we intend to do exactly that in Afghanistan.”
Sullivan also said he wouldn’t comment on “hypotheticals” about what U.S. troops would do if all Americans and allies aren’t evacuated from Afghanistan by Biden’s August 31 deadline, a comment that some critics slammed.
“So we don’t know how many Americans are still trapped in Kabul and the admin won’t ‘comment on hypotheticals’ regarding bringing them back," radio host Dana Loesch tweeted. "DISASTEROUS."
“Disgraceful! We don't leave Americans behind. Biden still has ZERO plan,” Rep. Vicky Hartzler tweeted.
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