The United States initially estimated that it would take at least 30 days for the Taliban to take over key cities in Afghanistan. However, the Taliban made short work of the task, completely toppling the Afghan government.
President Joe Biden and other high-ranking officials are completely shocked at how quickly the Taliban have dismantled the Afghanistan government. The Biden administration has come under heavy Republican criticism for the rushed withdrawal from Afghanistan and the subsequent chaos.
According to national security advisor Jake Sullivan, the nation fell much more quickly than they initially thought would be possible, though Sullivan said it was purely Afghanistan's fault.
On NBC's "Today," Sullivan said, " It is certainly the case that the speed with which cited fell was much greater than anyone anticipated." He also said that the United States could not "will" the Afghan government to fight the Taliban off.
“At the end of the day, despite the fact that we spent 20 years and tens of billions of dollars to give the best equipment, the best training and the best capacity to the Afghan security forces, we could not give them the will and they ultimately decided that they would not fight for Kabul and they would not fight for the country."Jake Sullivan
A Reason To Leave
While all this turmoil unfolds in Afghanistan, President Biden is at Camp David, receiving regular updates and participating in video conference calls. Biden is slated to address the crisis "soon," but Sullivan did not have an exact date.
Biden was not the first president to discuss pulling U.S. troops out of the country. Both Obama and Trump also discussed leaving the area. However, Biden was the first to set a deadline and not change it.
According to an NBC/Ipsos poll from July, 55% of the U.S. were on board with Biden's planned withdrawal. Republicans even supported leaving the country, but many have criticized the how.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said the images coming out of the country were "the embarrassment of a superpower laid low." Sen. Chris Murphy said that Afghanistan falling to the Taliban is not a new revelation, but no one thought it would go so quickly.
For many Biden staffers, the quick disintegration of the government only proved that leaving was the right decision. If it came so quickly, spending more time, there would not have made a difference.