There is more bad news focused on the Biden administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. A high-ranking U.S. general reportedly warned the Taliban to stay out of Kabul or risk an American airstrike during the final weeks of the U.S. withdrawal from the country.
But the threat did not materialize as the Taliban rolled over the city on the very next day, according to NBC News. The only place where the United States was in control was Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport and the security of the city was left to the Taliban.
The head of the U.S. Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, met with Abdul Ghani Baradar, the leader of the Taliban. At the same time, the terrorist group was surrounding the city of Kabul and preparing for a final push to overtake the Afghan government.
Gen. McKenzie gave a warning to Baradar that if a Taliban force came within 20 to 30 kilometers of Kabul, the soldiers would be met with United States airstrikes, according to a military report.
The Taliban leader apparently acknowledged the general’s threat and pointed out that there were already some Taliban fighters who were within the designated strike zone. He declared that those fighters would not be moving. McKenzie stood his ground explaining that the U.S. mission was to evacuate U.S. citizens and allies from Kabul before the American military made its final departure from the country.
But the very next day, Taliban terrorists forced their way into the capital city and there were no U.S. warplanes overhead bombing the insurgents, according to an NBC News report.
Back in August, The Washington Post reported that Gen. McKenzie and some other high-ranking military officials struck a deal with the Taliban allowing the terrorist group to control Kabul if the militants left Karzai under the United State’s command until President Joe Biden’s August 31 deadline for withdrawal of U.S. forces.
This report gives some explanation as to why the general’s threat never came to fruition. It also explains why the U.S. allowed the Taliban to march untouched right into the capital.
According to The Washington Post, it was a hastily arranged in-person meeting between senior U.S. military leaders in Doha. This meeting included McKenzie (leader of the U.S. Central Command) and Abdul Ghani Baradar (head of the Taliban’s political wing).
The Post reported that according to a U.S. official, Baradar said, “We have a problem. We have two options to deal with it: You (the United States military) take responsibility for securing Kabul or you have to allow us to do it.”
In the midst of the chaos, President Biden stayed resolute in his decision to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan. And even the collapse of the Afghan government wouldn’t change his mind. Therefore, Gen. McKenzie, aware of his commander-in-chief’s order, told Baradar that the United States’ mission was only to evacuate American citizens, Afghan allies, and others at risk. He told the Taliban leader that America would need the airport to fulfill that mission.
There was an immediate understanding reached, according to at least two U.S. officials, that the United States could have the airport until August 31st, and the Taliban would control the city of Kabul.
Prior to the final withdrawal, chaos reigned in the country. ISIS-K terrorists launched an assault on one of the airport’s main gates, killing 13 U.S. service members and nearly 200 Afghan civilians. The U.S. responded with drone strikes on two ISIS-K targets, however, one of the drone strikes mistakenly killed an Afghan aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children. The Pentagon acknowledged it was a “tragic mistake.”
On August 30th, the Pentagon announced the end of the war in Afghanistan just after the final plane carrying U.S. service members took off from Karzai. However, the mess is far from over, as we continue to pick up the pieces that Biden has scattered about.