Ex-Top General Says He Warned Biden Against Sudden Afghan Withdrawal

The former commander of US Forces in Afghanistan reportedly urged both President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden against withdrawing US troops from the country, warning that a withdrawal would make the situation “very bad, very fast.”

In the newly released transcript of retired Gen. Austin Scott Miller’s April 15 interview with the members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the former Army general said he advised both presidents that the US-backed Afghan Security Forces would be vulnerable if US troops withdrew completely.

Miller said he believed that “going to zero” would make things “go very bad, very fast.”

Miller said he recommended leaving at least 2,500 troops in Kabul and at Bagram Airfield as a way to keep Afghan Security Forces and Air Force “in the fight.”

He said he took it as a red flag when the Taliban launched multiple attacks after the Doha Agreement, and when Biden announced in April 2021 that he would fully withdraw Americans from Afghanistan, Miller knew that the Taliban would retake the country.

Once the withdrawal was a fait accompli, Miller advocated for the immediate evacuation of the Embassy in Kabul but State Department officials appeared to have “a lack of understanding” about the risks of keeping US diplomats on the ground.

Miller added that he feared that the Biden administration as a whole failed to understand how dangerous the Afghanistan withdrawal would be. He said he warned the Marine commander in charge of planning an evacuation to be prepared for “some really adverse conditions.”

It wasn’t until after Kabul fell to the Taliban in late August 2021 that the State Department finally requested an evacuation of the Embassy. However, Miller testified that the decision came “too late” and placed significant strain on the remaining US troops in the city.

Miller’s closed-door testimony was part of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul’s investigation into the bungled Afghanistan withdrawal. Over the past few weeks, the committee has released six tranches of transcribed interviews from closed-door hearings.