(PresidentialInsider.com)- Somehow, the Biden administration was caught off guard by the quick reclamation of Afghanistan by the Taliban following the departure of American troops from the country.
On Monday, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser for the White House, said that the entire situation in the country “unfolded at unexpected speed.” While admitting they were caught off guard, Sullivan said that President Joe Biden still stands by the decision he made to conduct a full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
On Sunday, Taliban fighters who were armed heavily stormed into Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The president of Afghanistan fled the country and the western-backed government fell.
It was the official end to the 20-year effort by America and other western nations to rebuild Afghanistan. Now, the Taliban seems to be in complete control with U.S. troops at a bare minimum there.
Despite the quick progression and the sudden turn of events, Sullivan still defended the decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, saying on “Good Morning America”:
“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan. He thought the Afghan national security forces could step up and fight because we spent 20 years, tens of billions of dollars, training them, giving them the best equipment, giving them support of U.S. forces for 20 years.
“When push came to shove, they decided not to step up and fight for their country.”
Sullivan also said Biden also had to decide whether American citizens should be “put in the middle of another country’s civil war when their own army won’t fight to defend them?
“And his answer to the question was ‘no,’ and that is why he stands by this decision.”
Now, the citizens of Afghanistan are the ones who are going to have to pay for that decision — especially the women as well as the people who worked for the U.S. military as translators and in other roles over the last 20 years.
The Taliban is seeking to restore the country to what was called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. That was the formal name of the country when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan before American troops forced them out following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
At the time, the Taliban was sheltering members of Al Qaeda, which orchestrated the attacks on American soil.
As recently as last week, the Biden administration said they believed that Afghanistan’s capital could fall to the Taliban in 90 days’ time. A previous report by the CIA said it could take six months.
Neither of those predictions were correct, though, as Kabul is now in the hands of the Taliban.
It’s something Sullivan admitted on Monday, saying:
“We planned for a wide range of contingencies, one of those was the need to flow in a substantial number of forces to secure the airport and be able to facilitate that evacuation. We have now successfully drawn down the U.S. embassy in Kabul. We have moved all of those personnel either to the airport or out of the country.
“And we flowed in several thousand troops who had been prepositioned in theater for precisely this purpose.”