During an interview with PBS’s “Firing Line” published Friday, Writer for The Atlantic and author Elliot Ackerman said that “there was no plan in place for a full-scale evacuation” of our allies from Afghanistan and the blame for it “does not fall on the Biden administration.
Ackermann said [relevant remarks begin around 8:10] that the evacuation of allies fell on private citizens “Because there was no plan in place for a full-scale evacuation of our Afghan allies, and that is a huge mistake. There’s a lot of blame to be had for the endgame in Afghanistan. I mean, it’s a war that’s been fought between four presidencies, Republican and Democrat. But the blame for the lack of a contingency plan for a mass evacuation from Afghanistan lies with the Biden administration.
He continued: “Do I understand why an evacuation was not carried out before our withdrawal date in August? I do. And I think the justification for the Biden administration was between April 2021, when the announcement of the withdrawal happened, and September 11, 2021, when the last American troops were originally supposed to be out of Afghanistan, the Biden administration didn’t start evacuating our Afghan allies because they feared it would be a vote of no confidence in the Afghan government and then precipitate the collapse of that government. It is an understandable position. But it is a strategy and a position that relies entirely on what is called the decent range. It’s a term that dates back to the Vietnam War, meaning the time interval between the American withdrawal and whatever the endgame was in the country. And so the Biden administration bet that there would be some time gap between the last American troops leaving Afghanistan and the endgame between the Afghan government and the Taliban, let that decent gap be two years, a year, six months, there would be a certain amount of time. When there was no decent interval and Afghanistan collapsed on our watch, there was no contingency plan in place to get our Afghan allies out. And that’s why you ended up seeing what many called this digital Dunkirk, a crowd-pleasing effort to get people out of the airport and all the chaotic scenes that almost every American saw on the news that summer.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett