Gen. Austin Miller, the Commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 2018 through July of this year, reportedly warned Democrat President Joe Biden against withdrawing all forces from Afghanistan, and he strongly pushed back against intelligence reports that said the Afghan military could hold off the Taliban for 1-3 years, indicating that they would collapse significantly faster.
Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich said that Miller made the remarks during a classified Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday, according to multiple sources who were present in the hearing.
“According to two members present for the hearing, Gen Miller passed his recommendations through the chain of command — that the US should keep a level of troops on the ground (2500 was the number at the time) in order to maintain stability given the Taliban threat assessment,” Heinrich wrote. “Miller’s view was troops should maintain holding pattern – potentially supplemented by add’l forces from allied nations – given the threat. Miller shared no recommendation on how long forces should have stayed, making clear he didn’t know what the end timeline would be.”
“Miller also said that he strongly dissented with the intel assessment that Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban between 1-3 years, saying he thought it would go much, much faster,” Heinrich continued. “Miller also said once his recommendation was turned down, it became his job to execute on the withdrawal order – and eventually, decisions like abandoning Bagram were made because of constraints and troop caps imposed by the President’s orders.”
Miller also said that he strongly dissented with the intel assessment that Afghanistan would fall to the Taliban between 1-3 years, saying he thought it would go much, much faster.
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) September 15, 2021
A separate Fox News reporter said that Miller repeatedly warned Biden about the situation and about what his recommendation was.
Biden’s pullout from the country was marked by disturbing images and events, including people trying to jump on moving airplanes, falling off of airplanes, 13 U.S. soldiers being murdered in a terrorist attack, hundreds of Americans being left behind after the U.S. Military pulled out, and a seemingly innocent family being killed in a drone strike.
The irony, in a war full of them, is that a commander almost uniquely qualified to fight it was instead ordered to walk America off the battlefield for good. And as helicopters and cargo planes rapidly moved U.S. troops and equipment out of bases in Afghanistan, Scott Miller has been charged with finding answers to the difficult questions the rapid American withdrawal has raised: Can Afghan security forces possibly hold without U.S. military advisers on the ground and U.S. helicopters and warplanes overhead? Can the Taliban be trusted in their promise not to let international terrorist groups like al Qaeda use the country as sanctuary from which to attack the West once again? Have the United States and its allies purchased enough progress in 20 years to avoid a repeat of Afghanistan’s 1990s civil war? With the Taliban on the rise again, what will become of those Afghans who put their faith in the U.S. and NATO enterprise, especially Afghan interpreters and civil society and women’s rights groups? …
Miller is known for a relatively quiet leadership style marked by careful listening, rather than the bluster and swagger of some senior officers. He is also famously well read, especially in military history; he’ll quote from memory General Ulysses S. Grant’s memos to his commanders on the eve of the Battle of Vicksburg, or Henry Kissinger’s musings from his memoir “Ending the Vietnam War.”
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