Intel assessment said Taliban could take over in months, Defense Secretary Austin acknowledges

During an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz at the Pentágono, Austin declared thatnobodyin the intelligence community predicted the Afghan government would fall to the Taliban as rapidly as it did.


There were assessments that ranged initially from one to two years to, sabes, several months,” él dijo. “But it was a wide range of assessments. And as the Taliban began to make gains, and we saw that in a number of cases there was less fighting and more surrendering and more forces just kind of evaporating, it was very difficult to predict with accuracy.

This all occurred in a span of about 11 dias,” él agregó. “Nobody predicted that, sabes, the government would fall in 11 days.

Asked by Raddatz whether he thought the planning for the military’s withdrawal from the region wasacceptable and appropriate,” Austin responded, “hago, based upon what we were looking at.

Like everyone else, the president listened to our input,” él dijo. “Otra vez, he conducted a very rigorous and thoughtful process and he made a decision. And I support that decision.

Austin’s comments about intel lie in contrast to what Biden said on July 8 about how a Taliban-takeover was not likely and that he trustedthe capacity of the Afghan military.

When confronted by a reporter who said, “Your own intelligence community has assessed that the Afghan government will likely collapse,” Biden fired back at the time, diciendo, “That is not true.

They did not reach that conclusion,” el presidente dijo. “The Afghan government and leadership has to come together. They clearly have the capacity to sustain the government in place. La pregunta es: Will they generate the kind of cohesion to do it? It’s not a question of whether they have the capacity. They have the capacity.

There’s not a conclusion that, De hecho, they cannot defeat the Taliban,” él agregó.

Asked directly at the time whether a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan wasinevitable,” Biden responded, “No, it is not.

Biden spoke from the White House on Monday, saying the Taliban’s retaking of Afghanistan 20 years after their ouster by U.S.-led forcesdid unfold more quickly than we had anticipatedbut that he still stoodsquarely behindhis decision to withdraw troops.

The president declared towards the end of his speech thatthe buck stopswith him, but not before blaming his predecessor, former President Trump, for negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban that made the current president have to choose betweenescalating the conflict and sending thousands of American troops back into Afghanistan.

Biden also pointed fingers at the Afghan army for lackingthe will to fightfor their future. And he said the slow-moving pace of evacuating the U.S.’s Afghan allies was in part becausesome of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier — still hopeful for their country.

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