Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a U.S. Navy SEAL who served in Afghanistan, said the State Department has “a lot to answer for” in the chaotic withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
“I think if there’s blame to go around, it’s that maybe the generals didn’t stand up enough to [President] Joe Biden,” Crenshaw told Fox News on Monday. “I know for a fact they gave him the right advice, and he decided not to take it.”
He said that was “a reasonable criticism” of the military leaders, who probably should have resigned when Biden contradicted their counsel.
Crenshaw said non-combative evacuations are usually thoroughly planned out and practiced at embassies around the world in case of the worst possible situations, something that was lacking in Afghanistan.
“The State Department has been a complete disaster in all of this,” he said. “Everyone is supposed to know where to go in case a crisis happens. The embassy under this ambassador’s leadership just failed to notice this and failed to adhere to those procedures. They were behind the eight ball the entire time.”
U.S. forces finally pulled out of Afghanistan around 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, according to military officials.
“I’m here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and the end of the military mission to evacuate American citizens, third country nationals, and vulnerable Afghans,” Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., U.S. Central Command commander, said in a video from CENTCOM.
The withdrawal coincides with Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline, despite a rocky month that saw the Taliban take over the country in 10 days, culminating with claiming the capital city of Kabul on Aug. 14.
Thousands of U.S. citizens, Afghan refugees and others flocked to the airport to flee.
More than 110,000 people have been flown out of the airport in Kabul since the Taliban takeover in what the Biden administration is calling the “biggest airlift in history.”
During the chaotic exodus, 13 U.S. servicemen were killed in a suicide bomb terrorist attack at one of the airport gates Thursday.
“At the one hand, it’s great relief that we got those thousands of military members out without further incident — besides, you know, the one tragic bombing — because that’s really difficult to do,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.” “On the other hand, it’s kind of like a mix of sadness, because I have this sense of, you know, a number of Americans, a number of allies that we’ve left behind.”
In Monday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration hopes flights out of the country would continue to get anyone that wanted to out of the country, but the administration did not have a hard number as to how many people had been left behind when the last plane left Kabul.