Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the non-combatant evacuation mission at the end of August that resulted in over 100,000 people being evacuated from Afghanistan after the capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban was a “logistical success, but a strategic failure.”
Milley stressed the evacuation of US citizens, other country’s citizens and Afghans from Kabul last month was a “non-combatant evacuation (NEO),” while the actual process of withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan occurred earlier under the direction of Gen. Austin Miller, the former top general in Afghanistan.
Milley called the withdrawal of US troops under Miller’s direction a “retrograde,” and said it was completed by “mid-July.” The NEO was conducted in August after Kabul fell to the Taliban.
“There’s two operations. There’s the retrograde, which Miller was in charge of, and there’s the NEO, which CENTCOM was in charge of. The retrograde was executed and ended by mid-July with a residual force to defend the embassy, the NEO,” Milley said.