- Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Sunday the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine are “very different circumstances.”
- On Fox News, Kirby was asked if they had learned anything from the withdrawal from Afghanistan that could help in Ukraine.
- President Joe Biden has said that he is “convinced” Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Sunday there are little-to-no parallels between the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year and the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“Well, we’re still digesting what happened in August,” Kirby told Bill Hemmer on Fox News Sunday, referring to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which left the Taliban in control.
“They are two very different circumstances, Bill, and there’s not a lot of parallel between what we’re seeing now in Ukraine and what we see, what we saw in Afghanistan. We were ending a 20-year war there, and we were dealing with a massive evacuation of a lot of people, 124,000 in the course of two weeks,” Kirby added.
On Sunday, CBS News reported that Russian commanders have received orders to push forward on an invasion of Ukraine. President Joe Biden on Friday said he was “convinced” that Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine. Earlier this month, The White House approved a Pentagon plan to prepare for the arrival of fleeing Americans should Russia invade Ukraine, US officials told The Wall Street Journal.
The withdrawal from Afghanistan last year proved to be a low point during Biden’s presidency. Amid the withdrawal, a terrorist attack near the Kabul airport killed at least 169 Afghans and 13 US service members, marking the deadliest day for US military members in the country since 2011. Days later, a US drone strike intended to prevent another ISIS-K attack mistakenly targeted an aid worker — killing 10 civilians, including seven children.
“This is not the same situation,” Kirby said on Sunday. “This is actually trying to prevent a war from happening.”
“All of our administration officials have been out and about trying to find a diplomatic path forward, and at the same time, here at the Department of Defense, shoring up our NATO allies, making sure they know that we’re with them and that Our commitment to Article Five, collective self-defense, is one we take very seriously,” he added.