The Biden Administration has tried to deflect blame for botched, deadly Afghanistan withdrawal to Afghan forces.
Until now, the Biden Administration’s primary talking point on Afghanistan to defend its messy and deadly military withdrawal from the country was to place blame on the Afghan defense forces, saying they lacked the will to fight. Such talk has been largely to deflect from the failure of U.S. leaders from the White House down to plan for an orderly withdrawal from the country.
This week, Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, blasted comments made by Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Lieutenant General James Mingus, the Director for Operations for the J3 Joint Staff, that furthered that narrative.
In the committee hearing, Senator Wicker pointed to remarks in Kahl’s opening statement that said the Afghan military “evaporated in the face of the Taliban assault” and in Mingus’s opening statement that said “we cannot and will never be able to instill the will to fight.”
“Let me just remind everyone that for the past six or seven years before the debacle in Kabul, the Afghan military took almost all of the casualties and fatalities and fought bravely on behalf of their country,” Wicker said.
Wicker called the repeated parroted statements regarding the Afghan forces from Kahl and Mingus “unworthy” of their positions.
“In fact, it was a decision by this Administration to pull support for the Afghan National Defense Forces that led to the debacle,” Wicker said. “To suggest that this group of armed forces supported by the United States, but populated almost entirely by Afghan soldiers, was unwilling to fight or evaporated in the face of combat is a shameful and unworthy statement.”
When pressed to confirm the truth of his comments, General Mingus walked back his characterization of the Afghan security forces.
“What I would offer based on my experiences is that I have fought alongside the Afghans and there is no issue with their will to fight,” Mingus said.
That admission now stands in stark contrast to what President Joe Biden and his Administration officials have attempted to pass off as the primary reason for the botched operation that left 13 U.S. military members dead and thousands of allies stranded, left in the hands of the Taliban.