There was no handoff to me of any plans for a withdrawal. — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
There was no handoff to me of any plans for a withdrawal. — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
Biden's defense secretary says Trump administration didn't hand over plans for Afghanistan withdrawal, despite it making deal with Taliban
  • Defense Secretary Austin told lawmakers he didn't get Trump officials' Afghanistan-withdrawal plans.
  • "There was no handoff to me of any plans for a withdrawal," Austin said.
  • The Trump administration made a deal with the Taliban to pull out all US troops by May 1.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday told House lawmakers that Trump officials did not hand over any plans to him for the Afghanistan withdrawal. The Trump administration set the stage for the pullout via a February 2020 deal with the Taliban, which included a pledge to withdraw US troops by May 1.

"There was no handoff to me of any plans for a withdrawal," Austin said during a House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Austin added that he was "confident" Gen. Austin Miller, who stepped down as the top US commander in Afghanistan in July, was "making plans" for a pullout.

"But in terms of handoff from administration to administration, secretary to secretary, there was no handoff to me," Austin said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a similar point in a House hearing earlier this month.

"We inherited a deadline. We did not inherit a plan," Blinken said.


Pulling off a withdrawal from the longest conflict in US history was always going to be a highly complex task and involve removing or destroying valuable military equipment and safely pulling out thousands of US forces — all while hoping the fledgling US-backed Afghan government would not collapse in the process.

Ultimately, the Afghan government fell in concert with the US departure and Taliban takeover, which prompted scenes of mass chaos at the Kabul airport. Austin said the evacuation of thousands of people in August amounted to the "largest airlift conducted in US history."

President Joe Biden came into office with the drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan already underway. A blueprint for the next steps in the withdrawal from the administration that initiated the pullout could've made the process smoother.
Read the full article: https://www.businessinsider.com/austin-says-trump-admin-didnt-handover-plans-for-afghanistan-withdrawal-2021-9