Join Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley detailed four key dates that went into the planning and execution of the evacuation and withdrawal from Afghanistan, according to his written testimony obtained by CNN on Wednesday.
Milley did not deliver the comments to the camera.
The Biden administration has been criticized for failing to prepare plans to effect the withdrawal of forces and the evacuation of US citizens and others. Milley brushed aside this criticism by outlining some of the key planning events around Afghanistan.
He referred to these four dates:
April 28: Major military leaders including Milley, Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs, Commander of US Central Command and others staged a retrograde rehearsal of Afghanistan within the Department of Defense. This event was about the withdrawal of American forces.
“The main objective of this rehearsal was to ensure a common understanding of President Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan and to coordinate and synchronize the efforts of the DoD, our allies and partners,” Milley said.
May 8: All relevant Cabinet members organized an interagency withdrawal of forces simulation exercise.
“This event covered a rehearsal of the concept of the complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and covered various plans and aftermath of the branch plan itself and ensure it was in sync.”
June 11: A month later, the Joint Chiefs of Staff organized a tabletop exercise for a non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO), with the participation of senior officials from all agencies. Officials examined a series of “key steps” for a NEO, as well as the contingencies in the event of an embassy closure, the intermediate locations of assembly bases, and the process of screening and screening evacuees.
August 6: Senior government officials conducted another tabletop exercise to examine the possibility of a civilian evacuation under two different conditions: one where the surrounding environment was problematic for the evacuation, and one where the surrounding environment made it incredibly difficult.