Rather than hold political leadership accountable, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki blamed the U.S. military for the Afghanistan stalemate, during a Thursday press conference. Psaki said, “We’re not going to have a ‘mission accomplished’ moment in this regard. It’s a 20-year war that has not been won militarily.”
As the White House faces pressure to follow through with the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan set in motion by former President Donald Trump, Psaki said the Biden administration “will continue to press for a political outcome and a political solution.” Psaki holds the military at fault for the situation in Afghanistan, but hopes politicians will craft a “solution.”
.@PressSec Jen Psaki on Afghanistan withdrawal: "We're not going to have a 'mission accomplished' moment in this regard. It's a 20-year war that has not been won militarily." pic.twitter.com/OuJYaG3bGG
— The Hill (@thehill) July 9, 2021
Decorated combat veteran Sean Parnell, who led an infantry platoon for over a year in Afghanistan, slammed Psaki for her rhetoric and challenged her self-serving narrative. “We won EVERY SINGLE battle we were in on the ground. We did our job & we did it well,” Parnell responded. “It was the politicians who screwed things up, not the troops.”
We won EVERY SINGLE battle we were in on the ground. We did our job & we did it well.
It was the politicians who screwed things up, not the troops. https://t.co/0ZmxkdSBDw
— Sean Parnell (@SeanParnellUSA) July 9, 2021
The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis echoed Parnell. “The military wins battles, but it’s politicians who lose wars,” he said. “And it’s vile for Biden and his administration to claim—after Biden voted for, funded and oversaw that war as senator, VP, and POTUS—that the situation there is somehow the military’s fault.”
When asked to clarify whether she views Afghanistan as a “mission accomplished,” Psaki struggled to respond. After saying that the situation in Afghanistan doesn’t merit a “mission accomplished” moment, Psaki contradicted herself by offering the unconvincing claim that, “Well, I would say we did exactly what we wanted to do [in Afghanistan].”
“What I was referring to […] is that we’re not having a moment of celebration,” Psaki tried to explain. “We’re having a moment where we feel it’s in our national security interests to bring our men and women serving home. And we feel it’s in our national security interests for Afghan forces to be in the lead.”
Psaki’s comments come as Taliban forces continue to engage in a rapid advance across Afghanistan. The Taliban now controls 200 of the country’s 421 districts. Its forces are fighting the Afghan government, as they attempt to gain control of 124 more districts. And the Taliban has notably gained control of some of northern Afghanistan’s most strategic areas.
Yahoo! News notes that “Experts believe the Taliban may soon overtake the central government in Kabul entirely — bringing the country, once again, under the austere Islamist movement’s rule.” And some U.S. officials hypothesize that the Taliban could gain control of Afghanistan within six months.
The cost of America’s involvement in the country cannot be understated. As America’s longest war draws to a close, over 2,300 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan and over 20,600 have been wounded.
President Biden said in his Thursday policy address that Americans’ experience in the war illustrates that “just one more year of fighting in Afghanistan is not a solution, but a recipe for being there indefinitely.” Of course, the decision to fight in Afghanistan for two decades rests on politicians. Psaki would rather blame the military than address this fact.