US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin does not intend to resign amid criticism of Pentagon’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan, Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said Saturday.
“No,” Kirby firmly answered the question of whether Austin was planning to leave his post.
On August 15, the Taliban (designated as terrorist by the UN and Russia) seized control of Kabul after overrunning the rest of the country in 11 days as the majority of US forces withdrew and dispirited Afghan military dissipated. Internationally recognized Afghan President Ashraf Ghani resigned and left the country for the United Arab Emirates.
The Taliban takeover has forced thousands of Afghans to seek escape from the country for fear of reprisals from the militants.
With the political collapse and the ongoing evacuation of the remaining US personnel, questions are swirling about whether 20 years of war, the deployment of 775,000 troops, 2,300 deaths, 20,589 wounded in action and a $2.4 trillion price tag was worth it.