Daily US Times: A former CIA counter-terrorism chief said that both the Biden and previous Trump administrations were warned by US intelligence agencies that the Afghan army’s resistance to the Taliban offensive could collapse “within days” after an over-hasty withdrawal.
In recent days, press accounts of White House decision-making have suggested that president Joe Biden was led to believe that it might take 18 months for Afghanistan and Ashraf Ghani’s government to fall.
Unnamed administration officials were widely quoted last week as saying it could take 30 to 90 days to collapse the Afghan govt.
Gen Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, told reporters on Wednesday: “There was nothing that I or anyone else saw that indicated a collapse of this army or this government in 11 days.”
Biden said while speaking to the nation on Monday: “The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated.”
The CIA’s former counter-terrorism chief for south and south-west Asia said the president was being “misleading at best”.
Douglas London said: “The CIA anticipated it as a possible scenario.”
He has left his post in 2019 but served as a volunteer adviser to the Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. On Wednesday, in a detailed account on the Just Security website, he described intelligence briefings to the Trump and Biden administrations which gave different estimates of how long Ashraf Ghani and the Afghan forces could endure a Taliban offensive, depending on the speed and depth of the US retreat.
He wrote: “So, was it 30 days from withdrawal to collapse? 60? 18 months? Actually, it was all of the above, the projections aligning with the various ‘what ifs’.”
Landon said that both Joe Biden and Donald Trump had made decisions to leave Afghanistan for ideological and political reasons.