John Kirby admitted ‘chaos’ of deadly Afghanistan withdrawal in 2021 — but now he denies seeing ‘chaos’
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, said that he doesn’t ‘buy the whole argument of chaos’ regarding the sudden U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, despite describing the scene as such in 2021.
In August 2021, President Biden began the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, prompting members of the Taliban to quickly retaliate and take control of the country despite assurances that Afghani forces supplied by the U.S. would keep the country stable.
During an Aug. 24, 2021, White House press briefing, Kirby described the scene of the withdrawal as chaotic, telling reporters in ‘the first few days’ of the event, there was ‘physical crush and chaos.’
Despite his initial description of the scene, Kirby recently attempted to walk back on his claim, telling reporters that he ‘just didn’t see’ the ‘chaos’ in the withdrawal that led to the deaths of 13 American soldiers.
Kirby made the comment on Thursday while discussing a new 12-page report detailing the White House’s review of Biden’s withdrawal.
‘For all this talk of chaos, I just didn’t see it. Not from my perch. At one point during the evacuation, there was an aircraft taking off full of people, Americans and Afghans alike, every 48 minutes. And not one single mission was missed,’ he said.
‘So I’m sorry. I just don’t buy the whole argument of chaos. It was tough in the first few hours you would expect it to be. There was nobody at the airport and certainly no Americans. It took time to get in there,’ Kirby told reporters.
A Biden administration official said Kirby ‘was pushing back on the narrative that the evacuation itself that US troops carried out was chaotic and referencing how US troops did a masterful job accomplishing the evacuation of approximately 120,000 ppl in just over two weeks, an impressive feat and one of the largest airlifts in history.’
During Thursday’s press briefing, Kirby also insisted that the report was not about ‘accountability’ for the Biden administration.
‘The purpose of the document that we’re putting out today is to sort of collate the chief reviews and findings of the agencies that did after action reviews. The purpose of it is not accountability. The purpose of it is to study lessons learned,’ Kirby told Fox News’ Peter Doocy when pressed on who would be held accountable for the withdrawal.
The report attempted to place blame on former President Donald Trump for the event, despite him not being in office at the time of the withdrawal.
During the withdrawal, 13 American soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing while protecting the Kabul airport, and a number of individuals were stranded.
Fox News Digital’s Peter Hasson and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.