Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby blames Afghan forces for not using their ‘advantages’ to stop Taliban from taking over the country


The failure that is Biden’s pullout from Afghanistan was front and center today at the Pentagon as their spokesperson, John Kirby, was asked about it. Kirby admitted that it is deeply concerning at how fast the Taliban is taking over the country:

But, Kirby says, this is a “moment for Afghans to unite”, a moment for “Afghan national security and defense forces” and their “political leaders”. So in other words, it’s up to the Afghans alone to figure this out.

What he means by that is more clear in this exchange:

"That the Taliban have moved with the speed with which they have, and that the resistance that they have faced has been insufficient to stop those, to check those advances, does not mean is that the advantages aren't still there," Kirby said. "[They] have to use it."

"Since you're saying that they have all the advantages as they're getting crushed on the battlefield, it makes no sense to say they have the advantage," Tomlinson followed up. "The Taliban appear to have all the advantages right now."

Kirby said the Afghan forces have larger numbers, modern equipment an air force and 20 years of American-led training.

"They have the material, the physical, the tangible advantages," he said. "It’s time now to use those advantages."

The discussion also turned to the evacuation of U.S. personnel in Kabul – and the 3,000 soldiers and Marines sent in to secure the city’s international airport.

Kirby said the Pentagon expected the situation to be dangerous for the troops as Taliban forces work to "isolate" the city and the U.S. prepares to evacuate Americans in the city.

"They’re certainly going into harm’s way, and they will…have a right to self-defense," Kirby said. 

When asked about support from some Americans, veterans in particular, for a full withdrawal from Kabul of all U.S. military forces and a leveling of the embassy there, Kirby declined to weigh in.

"I think that one of the great things about this country is that people are free to express their opinions about anything that they want," he said. "My job is to articulate the policies that we're executing in the way in which we're executing them. And that's what my focus is today, to tell you what we've been ordered to do and how we're going to execute those orders."

Those orders are to help the State Department draw down its presence in Kabul, he said.

Earlier in the briefing, Kirby had been asked about comparisons between the current situation in Kabul and the fall of Saigon in Vietnam in 1975.

"We’re not focused on the history of the Vietnam War," he said, adding that he had no "crystal ball" to foresee what would happen in Afghanistan in the coming months.

However, he vowed that the U.S. would ensure that a terrorist threat would not reemerge in the region, where the Taliban once sheltered Al Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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