White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told ABC’s “Good Morning America” Monday that the Biden administration and President Joe Biden “stands by” the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, and complained that the breakdown of security “unfolded at unexpected speed.”

President Joe Biden has yet to be heard from and remains at Camp David Monday. The White House noted Sunday night that there would be no press availability for the president at all on Monday and that Biden will address the matter in the coming days. Requests for comment to the White House press office were returned with an “out of office” notification from Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who is reportedly on vacation until August 22nd.

“The president did not think it was inevitable that the Taliban were going to take control of Afghanistan,” Sullivan told ABC. “He thought the Afghan national security forces could step up and fight because we spent 20 years, tens of billions of dollars, training them, giving them the best equipment, giving them support of U.S. forces for 20 years.”

On Sunday, however, the Wall Street Journal reported that Biden “overruled his top military commanders: Gen. Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East; Gen. Austin Scott Miller, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan; and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Citing the risks of removing American forces to Afghan security and the U.S. Embassy, they recommended that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan while stepping up diplomacy to try to cement a peace agreement.”

“When push came to shove, they decided not to step up and fight for their country,” Sullivan said, adding that Biden did not want to be “put in the middle of another country’s civil war when their own army won’t fight to defend them.”

“And his answer to the question was ‘no,’ and that is why he stands by this decision,” he concluded.

Biden administration officials said in interviews Sunday that their hands were tied by the Trump administration, which committed to beginning a withdrawal the first week of May 2021. That excuse, though, seemed to shock even network journalists deferential to the administration. CNN’s Jake Tapper hammered Biden Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his own Sunday show for suggesting that the Biden administration was taken by surprise in Afghanistan.

“You thought it was entirely likely that the Taliban would be taking over the country, but President Biden [said] just last month, quote, ‘the likelihood the Taliban would be taking over everything and owning the whole country is highly unlikely.’ He was wrong,” Tapper snapped at Blinken.

“What we’ve done, what the president has done, is make sure that we were able to adjust to anything happening on the ground,” Blinken stammered in response. “We had those forces at the ready…in the event that this moved in a direction.”

On Monday, however, the United States suspended evacuation flights from Kabul and commercial flights were canceled as thousands of Afghans mobbed planes on the tarmac at Kabul airport, desperate to leave the country.

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